The education of American children begins long before they enter a kindergarten classroom. What children learn from birth to age five has a profound influence on their school readiness. While what happens in K-12 education is important, a solid body of research points to critical factors affecting children’s educational performance well before formal education begins.
No single solution will narrow the troubling gaps in educational achievement among American children. However, funders can act on knowledge about the important role of early learning to ensure their investments for change in K-12 systems are most effective.