No Small Matter: The Return on Investment
for Early Education
Recently, many Stark County community leaders participated in the screening of the film - No Small Matter - hosted by the Great Start for Great Futures Coalition. This feature documentary confronts America's most pressing problems with an unlikely but powerful weapon: babies and young children. From home to childcare to preschool, high-quality early care and education has far-reaching impacts, and the film reveals the tragic cost of getting this wrong... compared to the huge payoff-for our kids, our families and our country of getting it right.
No Small Matter highlights groundbreaking
brain-scanning technology that is arming scientists with information to better understand children's brains. With every new study, the incredible development happening in a child's early years becomes more and more apparent - a kind of "big bang" for learning where 100 billion neurons connect by synapses at a rate of 700 per second. For example, the number of words a child hears before age three can vastly improve school readiness. And, when a child lacks an engaging, loving environment, "toxic" experiences actually have the power to rewire his/her brain with consequences that can last a lifetime.
Today's consensus in the fields of neuroscience, education and developmental psychology reveal that a child's experiences between birth and age five have an enormous impact on the ability to thrive throughout life - from academic achievement, to health, to future earnings as an adult. Experts calculate that the return on investment (ROI) from quality early childhood education (in terms of money saved in health care, prisons, tax revenue and special education) ranges between $4 to $13 for every single dollar invested in a young child.
The United States has always been defined by opportunity. However, no issue so glaringly highlights our failure to deliver on this promise as the imbalance of opportunities among our youngest children. In recent years, the lack of high quality, affordable childcare has emerged as a full-blown crisis for working and middle-class families. In 1945 at the end of World War II, just 12% of American mothers with children under age six worked outside the home; today, that number is closer to 70%. Parents are often caught between wanting what's best for their children and needing to make ends meet.
While Stark County has led the way with innovative programs and support systems like the Early Childhood Resource Center, the SPARK parent training program, Artful Living and Learning, and many high-quality rated preschool programs, not all Stark children have access to these opportunities. Indeed, 40% of Stark County kids were not on track at the start of kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year.
 No Small Matters trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=Shm-KRh4LFg
 The Great Start for Great Futures (GSGF) coalition is a group of Stark County early education providers, agencies, advocates, and community leaders collaborating to improve the outcomes of prenatal to kindergarten children.