We need to invest more money in early childhood, and we need to invest that money wisely. Thanks to decades of work by researchers, program developers and providers, foundations, and pioneering leaders, philanthropic investors today have many promising options. We can invest to expand approaches that have been proven effective (while recognizing the importance of continuous improvement) and also support ongoing research and innovation in targeted areas. The following list constitutes neither an investment blueprint nor an exhaustive catalogue of public policy recommendations, but rather a menu of high-impact options.

Strengthen public systems of early care and education at state and local levels to ensure continuous quality improvements.

  • Provide technical assistance for states to accelerate quality improvement efforts.
  • Fund training for providers pursuing quality improvements.

Scale health and developmental screenings to connect parents and families with resources to optimize their children’s holistic development.

  • Develop and propagate comprehensive screening and referral systems at the community level.
  • Support pediatric practices to integrate screenings and referrals into well-child visits.
  • Disseminate promising screening and assessment questionnaires and tools.

Improve the training, continuing education, professional development, and compensation of early childhood educators.

  • Increase the availability of on-the-job coaching and development for early childhood educators.
  • Fund research and technical assistance to promote fair compensation of early childhood educators.

Support greater access to high-quality evidence-based programs that help parents and families to foster their children’s development.

  • Build the capacity of organizations implementing evidence-based programs to serve more children and families.
  • Invest in innovative public-private financing mechanisms for evidence-based programs.
  • Expand evidence-based programs for parents by advocating for increased state, local, and federal funding.
  • Simplify and disseminate information to assist parents in choosing high-quality care and education opportunities for their children.

Promote and share ongoing program innovation and improvement, especially for those programs supporting parents and informal caregivers.

  • Promote quality-improvement efforts for family, friend, and neighbor care.
  • Foster innovation to achieve repeatable results.

Download the full PDF on kindergarten readiness from The Bridgespan Group and Pritzker Children's Initiative.