Impact hero

Why Early Childhood Matters

All children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. Investing in our youngest children removes barriers to success and helps make Kent County more equitable and prosperous.

BirthAge 1Age 2Age 3Age 4Age 5Prenatal Supportso children are born healthyParenting Educationso families are supportedand parents’ knowledgeand skills increaseComprehensive Health Servicesso all children have the care they needAccess to Affordable & Quality Child Careso children are in a nurturing,stimulating environmentPreschool for 3’s and 4’sso they are on track for kindergarten

Building Healthy Brains

We know more than ever before about the brain development of young children and how the experiences and relationships they have as babies impact their later success. Brains are built from the bottom up, with basic circuits and skills providing the foundation for more advanced circuits and skills. Scientists know that a strong foundation increases the likelihood of positive outcomes, while a weak foundation does the opposite. Prolonged and persistent stress in early childhood weakens the developing brain, which can lead to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.

Learn More

Happy baby

Early Investments Pay Off

High-quality early childhood programs nurture healthy brain development. Investing in them pays off not only for children and their families but for the entire community.

Michigan’s investment in early learning – a total investment of:


$1.4 billion


Saved more than $1.1 billion in just one year

Getting it Right Early Pays Off

High-quality early childhood programs are proven to lower special education costs, lower crime and incarceration rates, reduce welfare dependency, increase graduation rates, and lead to a better trained workforce. Research shows investments in the earliest years of a child’s life provide the biggest return and lead to the best outcomes.

Learn More

A recent study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman found the benefits even extend to the next generation, as the children of parents who participated in high-quality early education programs grow up in more stable families and have improved outcomes in education, health, employment, and crime.

Learn More
Heckman Graph