Investing in Early Childhood: A No Brainer

Groundbreaking brain research adds yet another layer to the growing case for investing in early childhood, a case that we first articulated in Pathways to Student Success.

Yet progress in early childhood education does not yet mirror what we know about the importance of this period.  Many children begin elementary school cognitively unready, leading to poor academic performance.  Recent results of NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, show that more than 80 percent of children from low-income families are not proficient readers by the end of third grade, a critical milestone for future academic success.  While public education begins at age 5, developmental research tells us we should not wait until kindergarten to develop language and other critical cognitive skills in vulnerable children.

As we announced earlier this year, the Center has partnered with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to identify high impact philanthropic opportunities in early childhood. Similar to our ongoing donor guidance to address global children’s health, our online toolkit for addressing early childhood in the US will provide donors:

  • A synthesis of the latest research
  • A set of concrete strategies to maximize the impact of philanthropic activity
  • Resources to connect with practitioners and other philanthropists in the space

By doing this legwork, we hope to make effective philanthropic investment in early childhood  a no brainer for donors.