Early childhood is a crucial period for healthy development. Children who experience a stimulating, lower-stress, and loving environment in their first five years typically have better social, cognitive, health, and economic outcomes throughout their lifespan. The Child and Family Research Partnership explores the policies that impact child development and wellbeing so children get off to the strongest start to reach their full potential.
The period from prenatal development to age three (PN-3) is the most sensitive period for the developing brain and body, and one that lays the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Limited exposure to adversity and the presence of safe, stable, loving relationships are the keys to healthy early development.
Home visiting programs aim to help low-income parents enhance their parenting skills and improve a host of early health and developmental outcomes for young children. Programs match families with para-professionals who visit families in their home during pregnancy and throughout early childhood.
High-quality pre-K and early education programs provide both short- and long-term benefits for children and can also contribute to narrowing the achievement gap through building increased academic skills among disadvantaged groups.
As more parents enter the labor force, the number of young children in the care of early child care and education (ECE) centers has increased. High quality ECEs can produce significant impacts on children's social and cognitive development.