Why Invest in Early Childhood Care and Development? Fraser Mustard, a physician and world renowned advocate for ECD outlines reasons why investing in the early years is so critical. Video: investing in ECD Population Health • What is population health? Video: Clyde Hertzman • The long reach of early childhood Video: British Birth Cohort Study We now know, based on evidence from neuroscience, genetics, population studies and more, that early childhood is considered to be the most important developmental phase in the human lifespan. WHO, 2007 What happens in the early years strongly influences how healthy, how literate, how well adjusted and how functional we are throughout our lives. Foundation for the future ECD improves the health and well-being of young children contributing to more literate and healthy populations, better prepared to grapple with the complex issues of today’s world. There is plentiful worldwide evidence that the most disadvantaged children – whether because of poverty, ethnicity, gender, rural isolation, or disability – experience the most dramatic gains from ECD programs. Those who need it most get the most out of it but children who are most vulnerable, those most exposed to malnutrition and preventable diseases, are least likely to be enrolled in any kind of ECD program. Global Monitoring Report 2007 Mildred Warner, economist, describes the economic and social value of investing in early child development programs. Video: rationale for investment Source: Cunha, F., et al. (2005). Interpreting the evidence of life-cycle skill formation (IZA Discussion Paper Series, Report No. 1575). Bonn, Germany: Institute of the Study of Labour. Challenges … Optimal vs. Actual Investment Example of the U.S Cumulative Public Investment Optimal Investment Levels Pre-school 0 Post-school School Age Source: P. Carneiro & J. Heckman, Human Capital Policy, NBER, 2003; Voices for America and the Child and Family Policy Center, Early Learning Left Out An Examination of Public Investment in Education and Development by Child Age, 2004. Source: Cooke, M., Keating, D., & McColm, M (n.d.) Early Learning and Care in the City: A new blueprint for Ontario. Mildred Warner, compares the ideas of investments versus expenditures in ECD Video: investment versus expenditure Cost effective It is more costeffective to invest in the early years than to compensate for disadvantage as children grow older. High returns Investment in ECD yields high economic and social returns, offsetting disadvantage and inequality, especially for children from poor families. . Voices for early childhood care and development Increasingly leaders, thinkers, policymakers from many different backgrounds understand the vital importance of investing in programs that support families and young children Nelson Mandela “Children are the rock on which our future will be built - the leaders of our country for good or ill: which is why the rich potential in each child must be developed into the skills and knowledge that our society needs to enable it to prosper.” Stephen Lewis “Everybody now understands, I think…that early learning and child care fused together is the kind of objective which any civilized society strives for, and that it becomes an indispensable and vital dimension of a child’s life, enhancing all of the family characteristics which shore up the child, but profoundly influencing in the most positive imaginable way the opportunities for the child.” James Heckman “As a society, we cannot afford to postpone investing in children until they become adults, nor can we wait until they reach school age – a time when it may be too late to intervene” Charlie Coffey The development of human capital at an early age is central to a thriving economy. It’s simply a smarter path to take. Executive Vice-President, Royal Bank of Canada. Advocating What effective strategies have you found to advocate for ECD in your region? Who might be effective partners for this advocacy work?