Why does early learning matter? A large and growing body of research provides persuasive evidence of four related tenets:
- From birth to age 6, brain development occurs at an astonishing pace
- Nurturing and brain stimulation during those years have a profound impact on how children fare in school
- A child’s readiness for school is a powerful determinant of how he or she will fare in life
- Investments in early learning yield extraordinary returns to the work force and the economy.
Yet too many Alaska children enter school unprepared to become successful readers or learners (source: Alaska Developmental Profile, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, detailed in an article on our website).
The lack of readiness contributes to lower scores on standardized tests, poor performance on high school graduation qualifying exams, and high school dropout rates among the highest in the nation.
A movement to turn this around is already underway. Subscribe to the Best Beginnings E-mail Network to stay informed and get involved in early learning and literacy efforts across Alaska.
Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything. Watch this powerful video from The First Five Years Fund. (4 min.)
Mind in the Making
Mind in the Making: the Science of Early Learning, prepared by the United Way of America’s Born Learning campaign, helps to clear up common misconceptions regarding early learning and development.
The document also summarizes the principles of early learning, concluding that learning should be engaging and interactive, focus on experiences rather than memorization of facts, and more importantly should include joy.