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Recent early education news and updates

In the News

Parental influence matters more, but investing in early education and care is a simpler way to secure improvements.


October 18, 2017
Edward Melhuish
Child and Family Blog

How can policy makers best support children between the ages of two and three to help them do well once they begin school—through early education or influencing the home environment?

It’s a vital question that many countries ask. We know that children who start poorly at school also tend to lag behind throughout their education. Supporting them early on could pay dividends for a lifetime.

In a search for answers, we studied more than 4,000 children and their families in the United Kingdom, looking at life at home in that formative year before their third birthday, as well as at how non-parental care influenced their development.

Like most researchers, we found that what happens at home remains the biggest influence on child development in this period. However, it can be hard for policy makers to engineer big changes in parental practice.

We also found that non-parental care and early education helped build skills for school. It benefited children’s cognitive development and, typically, their socio-emotional development, regardless of their families’ economic backgrounds.