Birth-to-Three Policy Initiative

Imagine what would happen if every child—regardless of race, income, or opportunity—experienced consistent, high-quality developmental interactions and experiences from birth?

Building upon a century of hands-on experience and research in early childhood and educator preparation, Bank Street College of Education spent the last year conducting research to uncover the greatest opportunities to reform birth to age three policy so all infants and toddlers have access to experiences that effectively support the long-term cognitive, social, and emotional development of our youngest learners.

While two thirds of the country’s youngest children spend their day in the care of someone other than a parent, less than 10% of child care arrangements offer high-quality care. By 24 months, many toddlers living in poverty already show both behavioral and cognitive delays, mirroring the achievement gap as children move through the K-12 system. At the same time, infant/toddler educators receive little training and are paid so poorly that nearly one half of them depend on public assistance.

Bank Street has published two reports identifying opportunities for systems-level change that, if implemented at scale, offer every baby the chance to grow.

Rebuilding the Early Care & Education System With Equity at the Center

Bank Street believes quality child care and education is an expression of justice, a means towards a more equitable society, and should be the right of all children starting from birth. To center equity in our call for reforming the birth-to-three workforce, Bank Street has developed a set of five recommendations for states and policy leaders as they redesign our nation’s early care and education system in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. These are drawn from “Investing in the Birth-to-Three Workforce: A New Vision to Strengthen the Foundation of All Learning” and explored in a new essay published by Capita, a nonpartisan organization supporting public dialogue towards a future in which all children and families flourish.

Read the Essay

Teacher on floor with two young children

Three young children and an adult

Investing in the Birth-to-Three Workforce: A New Vision to Strengthen the Foundation for All Learning

As politicians across the country continue to advocate for investments in early childhood care and education, one overlooked aspect remains missing from the national discourse: the lack of quality training for the educators caring for our nation’s infants and toddlers. Our newest report provides a roadmap to policy reform at scale, including the development of residency programs and improved compensation for the infant/toddler workforce.

Full Report Executive Summary Key Recommendations

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Maximizing Every Child’s Potential in the First 1,000 Days of Life: A Landscape Analysis

During the first 1,000 days of life, we have the greatest opportunity to level the playing field. Lack of access to high-quality affordable child care, however, remains a crisis facing most American families, impacting the development of our youngest learners. Our landscape analysis explores four interconnected issues that need to be addressed in tandem to achieve the outcomes we seek: deepening expertise, compensation reform, strengthening systems, and generating the political and public will for change. By explaining related findings, supporting evidence, and bright spots in each area, this report provides a comprehensive view of the major issues in the field from the perspective of close to 100 thought leaders in the field.

Read the Analysis

A teacher and young child