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News & Press: FOCUS

Early Childhood Education: Quality and Access Pay Off

Friday, January 11, 2019  
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Investing in the future success and well-being of our community begins with investing in high-quality early childhood education for children from birth through age five. Creating and sustaining a comprehensive approach to early education and intervention results in many benefits for the community. Recent research has focused on early education as an investment in several ways:  1) a school readiness strategy, 2) a way to close achievement gaps for disadvantaged children and 3) an economic development strategy.


Three of these recent reports from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, the University of Chicago and the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation conclude that investment in early childhood development yield a significant return on investment in terms of school and life success as well as $8 for every $1 invested. By making greater investments in young children, a community will see greater returns in education, health and the economy.


By age five, a child’s brain is 90 percent developed. This is a critical time in which to shape the cognitive and character skills necessary for success in school, health, career and life. Adverse, at-risk and disadvantaged early environments create deficits in skills and abilities for young children that drive down their adult productivity and increase social costs, thereby adding to the financial deficits borne by the public. Early childhood education can prevent these achievement gaps and improve health outcomes, as well as reduce school drop-out, poverty and crime.


Several high-quality, evidence-based early learning and development opportunities are currently provided to young children and their families across Eaton Regional Education Service Agency (RESA), with programs such as Great Start Readiness, Early On, Head Start and the Eaton Great Start Collaborative. Over 1,200 young children and their families are being positively impacted by these efforts.


Our economic future depends on providing the tools for upward mobility and building a highly educated, skilled workforce. Early childhood education is the most efficient way to accomplish these goals. Research and data supports the need for a high-quality early childhood education for every child in our community. This effort will require an investment of time and resources from all stakeholders, including government, education, human services and the business sector.


To learn more about the early childhood education programs and services being offered or inquire about how to support or invest in these programs visit our website at


Jennifer McCaffrey is the Early Childhood Supervisor at Eaton RESA. 


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