When every child has the opportunity to meet his or her full potential, we strengthen families, our communities, and the nation’s economic future. Remarkably, one in four American children come from low-income families and enter kindergarten not ready to learn and, as a result, fall behind from the very start. Our nation pays a heavy price through larger taxpayer burdens in remedial and special education, more costly health interventions, and increased criminal justice expenditures. Research shows that for a fraction of those costs, preventive investments in high-quality early childhood programs can avoid the high price of remediation and bring enormous benefits to the economy. Further, early intervention strengthens families and accelerates a child’s ability to learn, thus increasing the effectiveness of K–12 education.
America vastly underinvests in early childhood programs that work, especially in the critical period from pregnancy to age three. This guide offers numerous specific, evidence-based public investment opportunities private donors and government can pursue immediately to make an impact. We cannot afford to wait. Philanthropy, business, and government must work together to expand early childhood opportunities so that all children arrive at school ready to learn and with an equal chance to achieve success throughout their lives.
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Table of Contents
Foreword from J.B. and M.K. Pritzker
Highlighted Support for Early Childhood Investments
Summary of Philanthropic Opportunities
Part I: What does the research tell us about the importance of early childhood development? What do we know about what works?
Part II: What outcomes matter most for very young children?
Part III: What are the immediate barriers to achieving better outcomes for low-income children?
Part IV: What are the most effective investments philanthropy can make?
Appendix A: List of Interviewees
Appendix B: Sources
Appendix C: ECLS-B Technical Appendix