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Early child development

Early Childhood Development: thinking long term

Many life outcomes – from education and work, to health and crime – have their roots in development that takes place in the first few years of life. The foundations for healthy cognitive, social, emotional, and physical functioning are established early, so inequalities which develop in the early years have the potential to last a lifetime.

Evolution of early human development

There are many aspects of early human development, from language skills and cognition to social and emotional development, and physical health and growth. Understanding how each of these different dimensions build on and reinforce each other as children age is vital to explaining how inequalities between children develop. Understanding how much of these inequalities can be explained by differences in parenting behaviour or environment is important when making policy.

Childhood development and adult outcomes

Skills developed in childhood play a crucial role in determining success as an adult. To tackle inequalities which exist in income, education and health, it is important to understand how much early childhood can explain these. Across generations, patterns of early childhood development – and their impact on later life – may be changing. Mapping these changes will also play a key role in guiding policy in the future.