The Importance of Early Childhood

Improving the health and well-being of children and families depends in part on sharing the most up to date research and evidence of what works. In this section you will find a number of resources that will help professionals and parents alike know more about supporting early childhood development.

Visit the following websites to learn about advances in the science of development and how these advances can inform policies and practices.

  • Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University: "The Center's mission is to leverage science to enhance child well-being through innovations in policy and practice."

  • The Heckman Equation - “Anyone looking for upstream solutions to the biggest problems facing America should look to Nobel Prize winning University of Chicago Economics Professor James Heckman's work to understand the great gains to be had by investing in early and equal development of human potential.”

  • ReadyNation - Ready Nation "is a coalition of economists, policy experts and advocates mobilizing business leaders to improve tomorrow's economy through smart policy investments in young children today."

Resources on the Importance of Healthy Early Childhood Development

InBrief: The Foundations of Lifelong Health

The Foundations of Lifelong Health (7 minutes): A part of the inBrief series from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, this video explains why a vital and productive society with a prosperous and sustainable future is built on a foundation of healthy child development. Summarized are findings from "The Foundations of Lifelong Health Are Built in Early Childhood," a report c-authored by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs.

Resources on the Importance of Investment in Early Childhood

NH Business & Philanthropic Leader Breakfast on Early Childhood (90 minute video: Full video of the February 2011 event in Concord co-sponsored by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, Northeast Delta Dental, the NH Dept. of Health & Human Services, Spark NH, The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation with support from The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and Early Learning NH.

Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything (4 minutes) : How would the lives of children facing adverse early childhood conditions be different if we invested in proven and effective early learning programs, starting at birth? Watch the video from the First Five Years Fund and see—through the voices of the children themselves—just how powerful the change can be.

Mission: Readiness "is the nonpartisan national security organization of senior retired military leaders calling for smart investments in America’s children. It operates under the umbrella of the nonprofit Council for a Strong America."

Why Preschool Can Save the World, Planet Money on NPR: In this episode, "we meet a self-described robber baron who decided to spend his billions on finger paint and changing tables. We revisit decades-long studies that found preschool made a huge difference in the lives of poor children. And we talk to a Nobel prize winning economist who says that spending public money on preschool produces a huge return on investment."