Early childhood is the very foundation of opportunity. Science tells us that the first years—really the first months—of life lay the groundwork for everything that follows. The compelling promise of the early childhood focus is its real potential to close the opportunity gap and significantly improve outcomes for the nation’s most disadvantaged children.

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In fact, 80% of a prekindergartner’s life occurs before he turns four. Sixty percent occurs before he turns three. And what the best science is telling us is that to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children we need to invest in that first 60% of life, to ensure that children have a strong foundation for everything that follows.

What that means is that policy must focus on prenatal health, on better care for infants and toddlers and, maybe most important, on family stability and wellbeing. That’s how we can change the trajectory of the most vulnerable children’s lives. Not by sending them to school when they’re four. In fact, what pre-K actually provides is remediation for what’s failed to occur much earlier in a child’s life.

The bottom line for policy is that pre-K is too little, too late to give the most vulnerable children the strong start they need.

Read the source article at aei.org

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