Investing in children’s early development is the brainy choice

Father helping baby stand

A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life. Every new born has 100 billion brain cells – they’re born ready to learn, but it’s a work in progress.

Almost immediately after birth, the brain begins to grow, developing trillions of connections and pathways between neurons. The world around children in the first five years is critical, because what they see, touch, smell, hear and taste triggers these connections.

There is evidence that children who do not reach good levels of development by age 5 are more likely to have poorer health, lower exam results and lower earnings later in life.

Worcester City activities 2015

Research shows that nurturing, responsive and loving parenting and caregiving gives children the best start in life, no matter if they are rich or poor.

When parents and caregivers read to, sing to, care for and play with their children, the child’s brain grows. But it is harder when you are struggling to make ends meet.

It is simply tougher when you don’t have room for your children to play, a healthy and warm home, or the money for clothes, nutritious food or family activities.

Most parents want only the best for their children, but they can’t all do it alone. 

Our Senior Policy Advisor, Dan, has written about how parents and caregivers are the most important teacher a child has. We have spoken to parents and know what type of help they need to make sure their children learn and develop at home.

Asking for help is hard – they tell us they want to reach out to someone they trust in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re failing or will be branded a ‘bad parent’.

In response to the Queen's Speech on 18 May, the Prime Minister spoke about life chances and inequality. He said,

"if we really want to make a true difference to people’s life chances, we have to go further in tackling the barriers to opportunity"

Prime Minister David Cameron

We agree. Poverty doesn’t need to be a barrier to achieving well later in life.

The Government should help all parents provide a safe, stimulating and enriching environment for children in their early years, so that all children reach school ready to learn and ready for life.


Young girl looking up on white backdrop

We are committed to making sure every child has the love, support and opportunity to reach their potential.

Action for Children’s ‘Fair by Five’ campaign aims to influence the Government’s Life Chances Strategy to invest in children from pre-birth to age 5.

Investing in children under 5 is the best way to ensure the future wellbeing and success of all children.  It’s the brainy choice.


Sign up to be an Action for Children campaigner and be there when we launch our Fair By Five campaign.