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Early Childhood Development

Learning development starts long before a child begins kindergarten. A child’s development is strengthened through regular interaction and stimulation in both the home and in quality early learning settings.

Here are five things to know about child care and childhood development:

  1. The brain is most flexible and adaptable to learning during the earliest years of life. More than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second in the first few years of life. 
  2. Children are already rehearsing how to produce language at 7 months old.
  3. When a child enters kindergarten ready for school, there is an 82% chance they will master basic skills by age 11, compared with a 45% chance for children who are not school ready.
  4. High-quality early childhood education has a long-term effect on children’s cognitive and socioemotional development through kindergarten and beyond. It’s also shown to help children improve attentiveness, regulate their emotions, and develop social connections.
  5. Attending preschool is shown to reduce the likelihood that a child repeats a grade by 15%.

Learn more:


Annual Roadmap Highlights State Policies to Support Infants & Toddlers

November 3, 2023

The first three years of children’s lives are a critical period for their development. State policy choices that impact young children and their families during pregnancy and these early years …


Report: “The Next Generation of Head Start”

November 2, 2023

Recently, the Children’s Equity Project, in partnership with the Equity Research Action Coalition, and the Center on the Ecology of Early Development (CEED), released a report, “The Next Generation of Head …


New GAO Report Highlights IDEA Early Intervention Programs

October 27, 2023

The report identified various challenges, including varying eligibility criteria, staffing shortages, and limited data collection, and concluded with several recommendations for Congress. The first few years of life are critical …


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: A Deep Dive Into Dual Language Learners

October 13, 2023

As FFYF commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month, we take a moment to reflect on the remarkable contributions of Latinx communities across the United States.  In recognizing and celebrating our nation’s Latinx …


House Members Introduce Bill to Help Child Care Providers Supply Nutritious Meals to Children

October 6, 2023

Earlier this month, Representatives Greg Landsman (D-OH) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)  introduced H.R. 5569, The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act. The bill makes important updates to the Child and Adult …


ZERO TO THREE Releases State of Babies 2023 Yearbook

October 3, 2023

ZERO TO THREE recently released the State of Babies Yearbook: 2023, an in-depth report on how state and federal policies have impacted the lives of families and their young babies. …


How States Are Using PDG B-5 Systems Building Grants to Support Infants and Toddlers

August 7, 2023

The BUILD Initiative, ZERO TO THREE, and Start Early, recently released a new brief highlighting the strategies states are using to support infants and toddlers in their Preschool Development Grant …


FFYF’S 2023 State Fact Sheets

July 31, 2023

Our new analysis of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. shows that child care and early learning programs have tremendous impacts on young children, their families, and the economy at …


NIEER Report Shows Importance of Including Family Child Care Programs in Publicly-Funded Pre-K

April 25, 2023

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recently released “Including Family Child Care (FCC) Programs in Publicly-Funded Pre-K: Conditions for Success”, a report demonstrating the benefits of including family …


NIEER Study Shows Preschool Participation Has Returned to Pre-Pandemic Levels

April 14, 2023

A new survey from The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) found that fall 2022 preschool participation rates have returned to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. According to NIEER’s Preschool Learning …


Inequitable Infant and Toddler Discipline Practices and the Need for Better Data

March 24, 2023

Conversations around child care accessibility usually focus on program cost and availability—Is a family able to find a program within their budget? Are the location and hours convenient? How long …


MIECHV: Overview

March 2, 2023

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program provides federal funds to states, territories, and tribal entities for voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services. 

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