Skip to main content

Why Early Learning Matters/Community Data


Why invest in Early Childhood?

University of Chicago professor, James Heckman, the Heckman Equation helps us understand the need to invest in quality early learning for children in their first years of life:

Invest + Develop + Sustain = Gain 


"Investing" in resources for families furthest from oppourtnity nurtures the "development" of cognitive and social skills, "sustained" through education into adulthood leads to a "gain" for the overall economy of a productive and valuable workforce. 

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University provides astounding evidence of the importance of investing in early childhood through five numbers to remember: 

  • 700 new neural connections are formed in the first few years of life.

  • 18 months is the age at which disparities in vocabulary begin to appear.

  • 90 to 100% chance of developmental delays when children experience 6 or more risk factors.

  • 3:1 odds of adult heart disease after 7-8 adverse childhood experiences.

  • $13 returns for every dollar invested in early childhood


Elgin Community Data Birth to Five Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map 

We use data to measure our progress and identify community needs for families. EPEL is currently leading a community work group to write for funding to provide more access and add additional child care early learning slots birth to five.

Innovation Zone Data