Why Early Childhood Matters

Brains are built not born. The brain is one of the only organs that isn't fully developed at birth. In fact, 700 new neural connections are formed every second during the first few years of a child's life. Experiences a child has during the first 2,000 days—from birth to kindergarten—will determine how his or her brain is wired for life.

The Goal: Every Child Entering School Safe, Healthy, and Ready to Succeed

The State of Young Children in Guilford County

More than 39,000 young children (birth to age five) live in Guilford County. One third of the children spend their first 2,000 days

  • Enrolled in high-quality licensed childcare centers.
  • Receiving good care at home with parents, relatives, or friends.
  • Not receiving the care they need to build healthy brains.

While their parents work, children who receive sub-standard care get further behind every day. Research also shows that it's difficult for our children to catch up once they're behind.

The Goal: Every Child Entering School Safe, Healthy, and Ready to Succeed

Children who participate in high-quality early childhood programs achieve great things later in life.

  • Children score significantly higher on standardized language and math tests.1
  • They have higher earnings, pay more in taxes, and are less likely to rely on government assistance.2
  • These participating children are five times less likely than their counterparts to become chronic criminal offenders as adults.3

Every part of our community wins when young children get what they need. And everyone can get involved.

  • Police officers across the U.S. are advocating for high-quality early childhood programs as a key component of crime prevention.
  • Military leaders have made the link between early childhood and military readiness and are calling for smart investments in children.
  • Business leaders in cities across the country recognize investing in early education is critical to building a well-educated, competitive workforce.

You can get involved, too. Learn how.


  1. The First 2000 Days
  2. Brant, D., Maxwell, K., Taylor, K., Poe, M., Peisner-Feinberg, E., and Bernier, K. (2003). Smart Start and Preschool Child Care Quality in NC: Change over Time and Relation to Children’s Readiness. Chapel Hill, NC. FPG Child Development Institute
  3. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. (2012). High-Quality Early Care and Education: A Key to Reducing Future Crime in North Carolina. Washington, DC: Stephanie Schaeffer
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