First 2,000 Days

The message is simple:
The first 2,000 days of a child’s life are the most important time for their brain development. That’s five-and-a-half-years from birth to kindergarten when children develop the skills and learning tools they’ll use for the rest of their lives. The most rapid period of development in life happens in children’s earliest years. It’s critically important for parents, family members, teachers and communities to help children reach their full potential, and make the successful leap into life.

The First 2,000 Days initiative began here in North Carolina and has now expanded to other states and Canada. When we invest in children’s first 2,000 days we create the best outcomes in education, health and economic well-being for everyone.

During the First 2000 Days, brain architecture is forming, creating the foundation for all future learning. Child development is a dynamic, interactive process that is not predetermined. It occurs in the context of relationships, experiences and environments. For optimal development and a strong foundation, children need good health, strong families and high quality early learning experiences.

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Watch the video produced by NC Early Childhood Foundation and use the resource materials at to talk about how our community can ensure that each child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential. With quality early child development experiences, children are school ready, graduate from high school and grow into productive citizens and valuable employees.

Cognitive skills are only half of the equation. Social and emotional skills, sometimes called “soft skills” are as important as cognitive skills in determining success in school, work and life. These skills are developed during children’s earliest years. Learning to play with others develops language skills and improved teamwork; making up games and rules develops negotiation skills; learning to follow rules develops ethics; and early exploration develops critical thinking and problem solving, the ability to communicate, get along with others.  Read more info on First 2,000 Days website