A new report released Monday says investing in the first eight years of a child's life pays big dividends, and that’s especially true for New York kids 8 and younger who come from low-income families.
"The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success" finds that just 36 percent of students are not on track by third grade, and that number falls to 19 percent for children living below the poverty level. Laura Speer is the associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. She affirms enrollment in pre-school is very important.
A New KIDS COUNT Policy ReportThe First Eight YearsA child’s early development from birth through age 8 is essential to building a foundation for lifetime success. View data on early childhood and policy recommendations.
Speer adds that one study the group examined showed that low-income children have heard about half as many words by the time they are in kindergaten as higher income kids, which impacts language skills.
Marina Marcou-O'Malley is policy director for the Alliance For Quality Education. She feels the Casey Foundation Report is on point about the need for more investment in high-quality early learning.
New York City recently adopted a paid sick day law. Speer believes this is the kind of policy that can make a major difference in helping get kids on track in school and in helping them succeed in later life.