A child’s brain develops faster from birth-to-age-three than at any later period in life, building the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health.
Parents play the lead role in their child’s healthy development, but all parents are stretched in the earliest months and years of their child’s life.
Whether providing direct support or working through a community-based network of organizations and programs, there is no doubt that government has a role to play in helping parents access needed services, especially at this critical and stressful time from birth-to-three.
When we support them in their earliest years, infants grow into healthy kids who are confident, empathetic, and ready for school and life—and our communities, workforce, and economy become stronger and more productive. That's why it is so important to start early and advance programs and policies that promote healthy development.
Make Your Pitch
Use the resources on this page to help make the case for investments in prenatal-to-three policies and programs in your state or community.
Use this leave-behind on its own, or paired with the Make the Case Pitch Deck, to help make the case for investing in policies and programs that support infants, toddlers, and their families.
Birth-to-Age-Three Is Critical for Brain Development
A child’s experiences in the first three years are the bricks and mortar of brain development, with more than one million new neural connections forming in an infant's brain every second. Responsive relationships and positive experiences early in life build a sturdy brain architecture that becomes the foundation for core social-emotional skills, early executive functioning and self-regulatory skills, and literacy skills.
Research from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University shows the importance of brain development for infants and toddlers. Supportive relationships and positive learning experiences begin at home and can also be provided through a range of effective programs and policies. Young children require stable, caring, interactive relationships with adults to achieve healthy brain development by age three.
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University explores how the experiences children have starting at birth affect lifelong outcomes.
This brief from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University summarizes essential scientific findings on the brain development of infants and toddlers to illustrate why child development is the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.
Early Investment Works
It’s not just infants, toddlers, and their families who benefit when we start early—it’s the entire community. When we invest in the first three years of a child’s life, the returns for communities are the highest, and we can reduce the need for more expensive interventions later.
Research from Professor James Heckman at the University of Chicago found that investments in high-quality programs that support young children starting at birth deliver a 13 percent annual return—significantly higher than the 7-10 percent return delivered by preschool alone.
University of Chicago Professor James Heckman's latest research shows the economic benefits of high-quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children.
Research from Professor James Heckman at the University of Chicago found that investments in high-quality programs deliver real returns.
Investing Early Supports a Strong Economy and Workforce for All
Programs and policies that support healthy brain development from birth-to-age-three result in better social, economic, and health outcomes and build a more productive workforce that strengthens our economy—now and in the future.
Adverse events or experiences that occur early in childhood can have lifelong consequences for both physical and mental well-being. This paper from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University presents a compelling rationale for fundamentally rethinking the health dimension of early childhood policy.
Can't Find What You Need?
Looking for additional resources to make the case for programs and policies that support infants and toddlers? Be sure to check out the Resources for Action page. If you still can't find what you need, contact us and we'll help you find the right materials for your state or community.