The argument for supporting children in the Early Years is without debate. It is accepted by both scientists and government policy makers, and understood by Early Years Practitioners working with these children day in, day out. Turning the existing knowledge into practical action “on the ground” is why Bedrock exists. Talking about the issue is important. Doing something about it is even more so.
Babies' brains develop most rapidly from pre-birth to around 3-5 years of age. During this period the environment and experiences a baby is exposed to determine how the brain physically develops.
A positive environment during this time helps ensure two things. Firstly, that the brain is formed and physically structured in a way that has the capacity for future learning and secondly, the ability to develop constructive social skills in the years ahead. However, the brains of babies and children who are brought up in a vulnerable or highly unstable environment develop differently, or in some respects not at all.
This creates very serious ongoing problems for these children who frequently fail to enter or benefit from education, or end up with troubled behaviour and poor ability to manage relationships. The science shows that getting it right at the start is absolutely crucial.
The economic cost to society of a troubled Early Years environment is massive. Failure to achieve even basic educational standards, increased likelihood of long term unemployment, the costs of increased involvement in the criminal justice system and individuals who have become a net tax cost rather than a net contributor to taxes, ultimately impacts on us all.
For every £1 invested in the Early Years the gain to society is conservatively estimated as at least £7 return. This has been evidenced across multiple countries but fixing it requires us to invest at the very beginning and be willing to take a medium and long term economic view.
Society is already paying, in real cash, the cost of fixing the problems caused by a troubled Early Years environment. It makes financial sense for all of us to start addressing the problem at source.
All children deserve to live in a safe and secure environment which is free from abuse and neglect.
They deserve to be loved and nurtured giving them the chance to achieve their true potential. This is a basic human right and one that few if anyone would ever disagree with.
However, it isn't always the case and this needs to change. So yes the science is clear and yes the economic argument is compelling. But at its heart, ensuring that children are brought up safe and loved is simply the right thing to do.
At Bedrock we are always open to ideas and
suggestions. If you have any thought or questions
we would love to hear from you.