Statistic:  The brain builds 700 neural connections every second the first several years of a child’s life.[i]

Statistic: By age 3, on average, the vocabulary of low-income children is about 500 words, roughly half the size of the 1100-word vocabulary of children whose parents hold professional jobs. Children’s vocabulary at age 3 is strongly correlated with their language skills in third grade.[ii]

Statistic: Young children exposed to six or seven risk factors have a 90-100% likelihood of having one or more delays in their cognitive, language, or emotional development. Risk factors include poverty, caregiver mental illness and child maltreatment.[iii]

Statistic: Reading is the basis of learning in all subjects, yet 39% of Massachusetts third graders read below grade level.[iv] Research says 74% of children who are not proficient readers by the end of third grade will still be struggling in high school,[v] substantially reducing their chances of graduating from high school, continuing their education and contributing to the knowledge-based economy.

Statistic: Economists estimate a 10-16% return on investing in high quality early education for low-income children, which comes from reduced health care and social welfare expenditure, reduced special education expenditures, and increased productivity and tax revenues. This return on investment outpaces the average 6% annual return from the stock market since World War II.[vi]

Statistic: Early experiences actually get into the body, with lifelong effects—A growing body of evidence now links significant adversity in childhood to increased risk of a range of adult health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Adults who recall having 7 or 8 serious adverse experiences in childhood are 3 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease as an adult.[vii]

Statistic: High-quality pre-k, especially for disadvantaged children, has been shown to significantly improve early literacy, language and math skills and to decrease special education placements by nearly 50 percent through second grade and grade repetition by up to 33 percent through eighth grade.[viii]  Low-income children who participated in high-quality early education are 30% more likely to finish high school and more than twice as likely to attend college


[i] Shonkoff, J. (2009) “In Brief: The Science of Early Childhood Development.” Center on the Developing Child. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Retrieved from:

[ii] Hart, B., & Risley, T. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes

[iii] Barth, et al. (2007). Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

[iv] Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (2011). Spring 2011 MCAS Tests:

Summary of State Results.

[v] Fletcher, J. M., & Lyon, G. R. (1998). Reading: A research-based approach. In W. M. Evers (Ed.), What’s Gone Wrong in America’s Classrooms. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.

[vi] Heckman, J. J., Moon, S. H., Pinto, R., Savelyev, P. A. and Yavitz, A. (2010). The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program. Journal of Public Economics, 94(1-2): 114-128; Rolnick, A. and Grunewald, R. (2003). Early childhood development: Economic development with a high return. Retrieved from

[vii] Retrieved from Center for the Developing Child: (

Original source:

Dong, M., Giles, W. H., Felitti, V. J., et al. (2004). Insights into causal pathways for ischemic heart disease: Adverse Childhood Experiences study. Circulation, 110(13), 1761-1766.


[viii] Retrieved from Partnership for America’s Economic Success website: (

Original sources:

  • Frede, Ellen, Jung Kwanghee, W. Steven Barnett, and Alexandra Figueras. “The APPLES Blossom: Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES) Preliminary Results through 2nd Grade Interim Report.” New Brunswick: National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2009.
  • Center for Child Development. “LA 4 Longitudinal Report.” Baton Rouge: Louisiana Department of Education. 2007.
  • Albert Wat. (2010). the Case for Pre-K in Education Reform: A Summary of Program Findings. Retrieved from: (February 1, 2011).