Evidence is clear that beginning in utero, children are constantly learning. Research shows enrollment in early childhood education programs before kindergarten increases school readiness and ensures children are on track with their peers. Quality early childhood education sets young children up for successful entry into school and careers. Children without a strong early educational foundation are more likely to drop out of school and less likely to attain a postsecondary education, which lowers the chances of experiencing upward economic mobility.

The child care system is an integral part of what MDC calls the “infrastructure of opportunity,” the aligned institutions, policies, and practices that make upward mobility possible.

This brief examines ways early childhood investments enable progression through the talent development system on the path to upward economic mobility for children, parents and families, and the workforce of early childhood educators and caregivers.

In it we explore more fully the links between early childhood education investments and economic mobility, drawing on academic journal articles, policy papers, and other think-tank, philanthropic, and social sector reports.

This research continues to inform MDC’s place-based work and offers knowledge that can help communities identify local policies and practices that have the strongest potential to improve the early childhood ecosystem and the broader infrastructure of opportunity.


For more information, contact
Abby Parcell.