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The most rapid period of brain development occurs during the first five years of life. In the first few years, 700 new neural connections are formed every second through the interaction of genes and a baby's environment and experiences. These connections build the foundation upon which all learning, behavior and health depend.

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Differences in the size of a child's vocabulary first appear at 18 months of age, based on whether a child was born into a family with high education and income or low education and income. By age four, children from higher income families have heard 30 million more words than their peers from lower income families.

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Early education yields a significant long-term return on investment through increased workforce productivity and reduced societal costs of welfare and crime. Every $1 invested in high-quality early education saves, on average, $7 down the road as a result of lower demand for social services, reduced crime rates and increased tax revenues.

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Children who attend high-quality early education are more likely to read at grade level by third grade which increases the likelihood of graduating high school, attending college and being equipped for the workforce. The first step to ensuring we have a highly skilled workforce to compete in the global economy is ensuring a strong start in a child's first five years, where the foundation of skills needed in school and the workforce is built.

"All improvement requires change. Not all change requires improvement." #strivetogether