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Why Early Childhood Education is No Small Matter

“Over the last twenty years, a revolution in our understanding of early childhood has led to one, inescapable conclusion: the experiences we have in the first five years of life shape our brains and bodies in profound and lasting ways; it’s no longer about “nature versus nurture”, but how the two work together to shape who we become.” – No Small Matter, 2018

At New Moms, we constantly educate ourselves on the latest issues affecting our work and explore new methods for program delivery. On July 11th, we held our annual Staff Retreat and screened a special viewing of the 2018 documentary, No Small MatterNo Small Matter provides an intriguing and important insight into why the mission of New Moms matters on a national scale.

No Small Matter delves into the importance of early childhood development and explains how it is critical for children ages 0-5 to receive loving, supportive care and play. These early years are the most important years for brain development. Due to the rising costs of childcare, children in low-income families have less access to high-quality childcare and therefore may miss out on critical opportunities for development and learning. The filmmakers elaborate that “Higher-income parents have more money and time to invest in their kids’ early care and education; as a result, kids from wealthier families start kindergarten up to two years ahead of low-income kids, a gap in opportunity that becomes a gap in achievement that only reinforces the cycle of poverty. Kids who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out, and high school dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.” 

New Moms’ model applies brain and behavioral science to services that address the needs and goals of young moms and children experiencing poverty. Our team partners with young moms by sharing resources, teaching skills, and offering encouragement to equip them to be their children’s first and best teacher. And through our housing and job training programs, our moms find safety and stability that supports them as they establish a peaceful home for their children. We are able to positively shape children’s brains and create vital neural connections by surrounding our young moms and their children with these key supports that allow them to thrive.

The film reinforces how working with children at a young age benefits not just the child, but the entire community, as Experts calculate that the return on investment (ROI) for quality early childhood education — in terms of money saved in the health care system, in prisons, in tax revenue, in special education — is somewhere between $4 and $13 for every one dollar invested in a young child.” 

At New Moms, according to the social return on investment study conducted by the Social Impact Research Center of Heartland Alliance, “for every $1 invested in New Moms integrated programming there is a $1.04 return on investment at two years and a $3.81 return on investment at 5 years.” These findings show that “investing in New Moms generates nearly a 4-fold return for every dollar invested.”

Watch the trailer below, and click here to learn more about No Small Matter and how early childhood education is crucial to creating strong communities and setting up children for successful futures.

Learn how to view No Small Matter it in your community: