Bank Street Education Center

Learning Starts At Birth

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 conducted thorough 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, and inequities within the field are stark. Nationally, on average, Black women working with children ages 0–5 make 84 cents for every $1 earned by their white counterparts. This is an urgent issue of racial injustice that must be addressed, for both children and the women who care for and educate them. 

Bank Street has published two foundational reports identifying opportunities for systems-level change that offer every baby the chance to grow. With the intention to develop models at scale, Bank Street is actively building partnerships to implement report recommendations in localities and states around the country to establish proof points across a range of contexts that demonstrate what is possible for infants, toddlers, and their families when we invest in educators through high-quality professional learning tied to increases in compensation.

News Spotlight: Early Childhood Policy Fellowship

An article by Early Learning Nation titled “Bank Street’s New Policy Fellowship Aims for Equity and Quality” spotlights Learning Starts At Birth’s Early Childhood Policy Fellowship and features interviews with four fellows who completed the 2022-23 program.

Read the Article