Issue Paper: Early Childhood Development

Prepared for NC Women Matter by Tracy Zimmerman, NC Partnership for Children.

Early childhood development is essential to North Carolina’s future. Our greatest economic resource is our people

Children’s earliest experiences literally determine how their brains are wired. With quality early childhood education, our children will be school ready; they’ll have higher graduation rates and they’ll grow into productive citizens and valuable employees.

There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when that child shows up in for the first day of kindergarten. That gives us 2,000 days to get it right; to make sure all children have the experiences they need to succeed.

When North Carolina invests in young children, it sees results. This past March, Duke University researchers released a study that found children had higher third grade reading and math scores and fewer special education placements in counties that received more funding for Smart Start when those children were younger. The researchers concluded that investments in Smart Start and NC Pre-Kindergarten generate broad education benefits.

North Carolina grows stronger when we help families raise more capable children into smart, valuable and productive citizens.

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