The Importance of the Early Years

The early years from birth to age eight are critically important for all areas of learning and development.

We know that 80 percent of a child’s intellect, personality, and social skills are developed in the first five years of life.1 Those skills and personality traits continue to develop as kids grow.

That is why it is important for everyone – parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors – to help kids develop and start on a path to success.

Early experiences are important in shaping how successful children are later in life. Studies show that kids who have quality early childhood experiences, including attending quality early childhood programs, are more likely to graduate from high school, own a home, have a job and earn a higher income.2

Learning in the early years lays the foundation for a successful and happy future for Colorado’s kids.

1 Shonkoff, J.P., & Phillips, D. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2000.

2 Temple, J., & Reynolds, A. “Benefits and Costs of Investments in Preschool Education: Evidence from the Child-Parent Centers and Related Programs.” Economics of Education Review, 26 (2007): 126-144.


Note: It is important to arrange for regular health and developmental exams with a health care provider. These are usually part of a well-child visit and can include vision, hearing and oral health screenings.

Questions? Concerns?

The Guidelines describe how a typical child develops but it is important to understand that each child learns and develops at his or her own individual pace. Since each child is different, caregivers should talk with a health care provider or other trusted professional about any questions or concerns. For more information about questions or concerns you may have, please contact us.