Children with access to high-quality early childhood programs — like this little boy from Berlin — are more likely to succeed in school and relationships, to become adults who thrive and contribute to their communities.

Children with access to high-quality early childhood programs — like this little boy from Berlin — are more likely to succeed in school and relationships, to become adults who thrive and contribute to their communities.

Early Childhood Development

Children with access to high-quality early childhood programs — like this little boy from Berlin, pictured above — are more likely to succeed in school and relationships, to become adults who thrive and contribute to their communities.

 

GOAL: All kids receive high-quality early care and education

 

Why it matters

At an early childhood development center in Berlin, an infant coos and squeaks, smiling at his teacher. His teacher makes eye contact, smiles back and says “Well, good morning!”

Those people were not just passing the time. That baby’s brain just grew.

Research in pediatric neurology is conclusive: Healthy brain development and growth depend on positive social interaction early in life. A strong foundation in the preschool years is critical to all learning that comes later. In the absence of such experience, or when children experience significant stress, brain circuitry does not develop as it should — with devastating effects on cognitive and social growth which can lead to expensive problems later.

That baby in Berlin is fortunate — because he is in a high-quality early learning center, he is more likely to succeed in school and relationships, to thrive in his community and in his career.

But too many of our children are not getting that opportunity.

Many of the 28,000 New Hampshire kids who live in poverty lack access to high-quality early childhood development programs. Parents need access to other critical supports — parenting education, developmental screening tools, job training, financial literacy — that will help them to raise thriving kids.

By third grade, children from low-income households in New Hampshire have already fallen behind their better-off peers in math and reading. And they risk staying behind.

 

700 new neural connections are formed every second in the young brain.

 

But solutions are at hand, with proven strategies that change that trajectory for kids.

Community investment during the early childhood years translates to school readiness, success in high school, higher levels of educational attainment, economic security, productivity and civic engagement — and savings in everything from special education costs to rehabilitation programs and prison costs.

Every dollar invested in early childhood development nets an average $7 return in productivity and saved societal costs — from savings in costly interventions later to gains in future productivity. Studies have shown that when disadvantaged children have increased quality early learning experiences, their earnings in adulthood are boosted by 25 percent.

Investing in our kids is an economic imperative. Kids who are supported by their communities today become adults who will contribute to those communities tomorrow. Like that baby in the North Country, all of our kids deserve the kind of early start that will help them thrive.

 

We’re working to:

  • Increase quality and quantity of early learning centers serving low-income kids.
  • Expand access to parenting classes and other services for young at-risk moms and dads.
  • Increase the number of children receiving consistent screenings to identify developmental challenges early on.
  • Strengthen state policies and funding to support early care and education.

Each of these goals is dependent on the dedicated work, collaboration and commitment of scores of partners. Please see list below.

 

We're here to help

To learn more about ways to help New Hampshire's kids thrive, contact:

Christina Lachance
  • Christina Lachance, M.Ed.
  • Director of Early Childhood and Family Initiatives