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Investing in the early years is one of the smartest things a country can do to eliminate extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and create the human capital needed for economies to diversify and grow. Early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development – affecting learning, health, behavior, and, ultimately, productivity and income. 

Yet today, millions of young children are not reaching their full potential because inadequate nutrition; a lack of early stimulation, learning, and nurturing care; and exposure to stress adversely affecting their development.

The challenge is substantial:  

Smart investments in the physical, cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development of young children – from before birth until they transition to primary school – are critical to put them on the path to greater prosperity, and to help countries be more productive and compete more successfully in a rapidly changing global economy.

A large body of evidence confirms that if we invest in high-quality programs that support children’s health, nutrition, and early learning, we can improve learning outcomes, and ultimately increase adult wages and productivity.  

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2021

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Kristyn Schrader-King
Communications Lead, Education