Investing in the Early Years: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood in New Hampshire (2017)

In recent years, a confluence of research has called attention to the importance of investments in early childhood, from home visiting programs that start during the prenatal period to high-quality preschool one or two years before kindergarten entry. A first line of research is from leading developmental theories in disparate disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, and economics, that have highlighted the importance of the early years in promoting children’s cognitive, social, emotional, behavioral, and physical development, with consequences for lifelong health and well-being. A second strand of research provides extensive empirical evidence from rigorous evaluations regarding the effectiveness of early interventions—both smaller-scale model programs and large scale ones implemented at the national, state, and local levels.2 A third component is the mounting evidence base regarding the economic returns from investments in high-quality early childhood programs, with benefits that accrue to program participants and to society as a whole.3 Indeed, investments in effective early childhood programs have been singled out for their economic development benefits in terms of their impact on the skills and productivity of the future workforce.

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