Letter: First 2,000 days

Mar. 16, 2013 @ 11:03 AM

To the Editor:

There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when that child shows up for the first day of kindergarten. Experiences during these 2,000 days have a lasting impact on later learning, health and success. That is because children’s earliest experiences literally determine how their brains are wired, lay the groundwork for future health, and form the foundation of the social and emotional skills needed for academic and workplace success.

• Did you know participants in high quality early childhood programs have an increased median earnings by as much as 36 percent, pay more taxes, and depend less on welfare?

• Did you know high quality early childhood programs increase graduation rates by as much as 44 percent? North Carolina’s graduation rate was 65 percent before Smart Start and is now 77.7 percent.

• Did you know early education programs make it possible for 380,000 North Carolina parents to work?

• Did you know enriched early childhood programs appear to reduce future crime, and in the long run, they are the most cost-effective way to reduce crime?

In the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. That is why we must make sure we invest in our children’s development. That investment will produce sustained results at the local, state and national level, and is critical in keeping the United States competitive in the global market. Anything less is the neglect of our most precious resource: our children.

Garry Daeke