Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Early Care and Learning

The achievement gap for low-income young children starts early in life and is difficult to reverse. What science tells us about brain development, along with what we know from economic analysis, makes it clear that investing in high-quality early care and learning is essential to reducing this gap.

States as well as communities make important choices about how much they invest in early care and learning strategies that can improve the odds for healthy early childhood development. Research is clear that early school success for low-income young children also depends on efforts to increase family economic security.

Strategies to help young children with the social and emotional, language, and academic skills they need to succeed in the early school years are critical across all early care and learning settings, starting with infants and toddlers. Of special concern are young children who experience multiple risks beyond poverty and economic hardship.

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