The 0 to 4 age group is paramount for brain development yet many children don’t receive the necessary support during this peak time. The significance of this period on brain development and academic success is clearly documented by Fraser Mustard.
Mustard gave voice to three enduring messages:
The years before 5 last a lifetime;
It takes a village to raise a child and
Pay now or pay later.
Failing to adequately cater for the needs and stimulation required for optimal brain development of infants creates an achievement gap that plagues the progress of many students throughout their primary years and beyond. According to President, American Federation of School Administrators, Diann Woodard in her Huffington Post article, “Research shows that investing in early childhood education provides significant long-term benefits. High-quality early childhood programs for vulnerable children increase literacy and high school graduation rates while also reducing dropout, crime and teen pregnancy rates.”
However investing in quality education also needs to extend earlier, before formal schooling starts. To reduce the achievement gap it is vital that we provide optimal conditions during the peak time of brain development.