Why Early Care & Education?

The years from birth to five are extraordinarily vigorous periods of growth and development. Mastering language, children by the age of five have learned more than at any other time of their lives. Windows of opportunity enable children to grasp cognitive, physical, emotional and social concepts. Investing in children and families in the early years:

  • Lay the foundation needed to maximize later cognitive and social capabilities, school achievement, and lifelong success.
  • Reap extraordinary benefits – not only for each individual child, but also for our communities, our workforce, and Virginia’s economy.

One in eight of Virginia’s children enters kindergarten without the basic skills needed to be ready to learn, threatening the human capital of Virginia’s workforce and economy.

Why Does Quality Matter?

Children in quality early childhood programs benefit from participating in age and developmentally appropriate experiences. Skilled, nurturing, and experienced adults facilitate a wealth of activities for the children. Research has shown that such caregivers support children not only in their cognitive growth, but also in their social and emotional development. Children create, explore, share, negotiate, problem solve, resolve conflicts, and discover as they interact with learning-rich indoor and outdoor environments.

Families are able to work productively knowing their children are in safe and loving places.

In the first 3 years of life, a major portion of the brain’s architecture is formed. This formation impacts an individual’s cognitive ability, the capacity to form and maintain relationships, and other lifelong skills that largely determine an individual’s life success. Research shows that high-quality early experiences can have a profound effect on this critical time of development, when the foundation of literacy, numeracy, social and emotional growth, and physical health is laid. Children who enter kindergarten with a solid foundation of skills in place are more likely to have school success and ultimately life success.

Economic Benefits
  • Every $1 invested in a high quality early childhood program may yield $7-$9 in future savings.
  • Cost-benefit studies show a 16 percent annualized rate of return on early childhood education investment.
  • Children with positive early learning opportunities have fewer special education needs in later years and are more likely to graduate from high school. They are more likely to earn more money, pay more federal and state taxes and need less help from income assistance programs.
  • Children experiencing high-quality early care and education are less likely to need to repeat a grade in school, have an early pregnancy, drop out of school and depend on public assistance. They are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, buy a home, and have the skills and ability to be the capable workers and critical thinkers needed for a strong, competitive workforce.
  • Economic research shows that communities investing in high-quality early childhood education can have a 12 percent rate of return.

Investing in high-quality early care and education makes sense for the children, the family, the children, and the economy. Stating it simply, investing early works!

http://www.zerotothree.org/
http://www.nccic.org/
http://www.developingchild.net/
http://www.financeproject.org/
http://www.earlychildhoodfinance.org/

Family issues, including problems with child care arrangements, are cited as the most frequent reason for an unexpected absence at work. Unexpected problems with child care arrangements, leading to unexpected absences at work, cost U.S. employers approximately $3 billion each year.

Programs that balance work and family commitments have been found to reduce costs of absenteeism and turnover, while increasing productivity and job satisfaction. In fact, employers of choice, businesses with progressive human resource programs, tend to out perform their competitors, according to a 2000 study of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For by Vanderbilt University and Hewitt Associates..

As the demand for skilled labor increases and the workforce shrinks, the need for talent pushes resilient businesses to:

  • act strategically to recruit and retain employees; and
  • proactively strengthen the workforce of tomorrow.

Consideration of work life issues of the current workforce, including assistance with providing high-quality early childhood programs for employees’ children, can address both goals by leading to a reliable, stable workforce today and a more capable workforce tomorrow.