Why Early Childhood Education
A critical period of development
The first five years of a child’s life are the most important developmental years.
Every day, babies, toddlers and preschool children make more than a million brain connections per second as they soak in everything around them and build their brains at a rapid pace. In fact, 85% of a child’s brain is developed by age three.
This is the time to invest in our children to set the stage for school readiness and long-term success in life.
A critical need in our community
Next Door serves our community’s most under-resourced areas where young children often face an educational opportunity gap right from the start.
They lack access to critical educational, physical and social-emotional resources needed for healthy development, and are at risk of starting kindergarten as many as 18 months behind children from more affluent families.
Next Door aims to ensure these children have equal opportunity for high quality early childhood education.
Research shows it works
A 2017 academic research study with the Educare Learning Network, which included Next Door students, showed that disadvantaged children completing high quality early childhood education programs demonstrate stronger language skills, exhibit less challenging behaviors, and develop more positive parent-child interactions than children not enrolled in such programs.
Further research from Nobel Prize winning Economist and Professor James Heckman shows a 13% return on investment in high quality early childhood programs for children from under-resourced families. This translates into stronger life outcomes for children and their parents in areas like health, schooling, income and crime.
Research like this is what drives Next Door to do the most important work in Milwaukee. Through a comprehensive, personalized, family-driven approach, our life-changing work in early childhood education will ultimately help build a strong future for our city!