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Focusing on Early Learning Pays Off

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

This week, one of our partner organizations, Zero To Three, hosted a virtual event to raise awareness and support for improved early childhood education. Titled “Rally4Babies,” the event garnered participation from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and various early childhood advocates (including actress Jennifer Garner!).

Rally4Babies highlights a serious problem in the United States today: A large and growing share of tomorrow’s leaders and workers are growing up without truly being prepared to succeed in the 21st century. Our nation’s economic prosperity depends on improving early childhood, but wide gaps in support for children in the early years undercuts that opportunity.

Some of the best early education happens not only in the preschool classroom, but in the home as well. Research shows that how we talk to and interact with infants and toddlers form the building blocks of early learning and development, actively shaping their social skills and impacting their ability to learn later in life.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that children from economically disadvantaged homes often know half as many words as children from high-income households. Worse still, fewer than half of low-income children are prepared to start kindergarten, compared to more than 75% of toddlers from high-income homes.

Parents and caregivers can reverse these trends by talking, reading, and sharing more with their babies and young children.
Rally4Babies is a good reminder that together we can change the trajectory for children in our country.

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