Early Childhood Care and Education MATTERS
Jody Marie Bartz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood and Child Services
Don and Sue Fisher Endowed Professorship
Montana State University, Bozeman
Family Promise of Gallatin Valley Board Member
Access to high quality early childhood care and education are top priorities for families with an infant, toddler, or young child. Recent understandings of brain development and science have influenced how those who study young children think about these priorities. In the first three years of life, more than one million brain connections are formed every second1. This remarkable brain development is greatly influenced by a young child’s health—both physical and mental—and by the care he or she does (or does not) receive. Simply stated, quality early childhood care and education matters because quality experiences early in life have a lasting impact on children’s later learning, behavior, and health. Additionally, high-quality early childhood care and education programs have the potential to impact two generations—allowing parents/caregivers to both work and provide for their families’ needs, while providing stimulating, safe environments for our youngest children2. Finally, providing young children with safe, healthy environments in which to learn and grow benefits not only the young children and their families—economists have also shown that high-quality early childhood care and education programs bring remarkable returns on investment to the public3.
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2018). Five things to remember about early childhood development. Retrieved from https://pdg.grads360.org/services/PDCService.svc/GetPDCDocumentFile?fileId=16462
- Lombardi, J., Mosle, A., Patel, N., Schumacher, R., & Stedron, J. (2014). Gateways to two generations: The potential for early childhood programs and partnerships to support children and parents together. Ascend at The Aspen Institute. http://b.3cdn.net/ascend/ d3336cff8a154af047_07m6bttk2.pdf
- Masse, L. and Barnett, W.A.S., (2002). A Benefit Cost Analysis of the Abecedarian Early Childhood Intervention. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED479989.pdf