Early Learning and Child Well-being in England

image of Early Learning and Child Well-being in England

The first five years of a child’s life is a period of great opportunity, and risk. The cognitive and social-emotional skills that children develop in these early years have long-lasting impacts on their later outcomes throughout schooling and adulthood.

This report sets out the findings from the International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study in England. The study assesses children’s skills across both cognitive and social-emotional development, and how these relate to children’s early learning experiences at home and in early childhood education and care. It is enriched by contextual and assessment information from the children’s parents and educators. It provides comparative data on children’s early skills with children from Estonia and the United States, who also participated in the study, to better identify factors that promote or hinder children’s early learning.


Executive summary

What happens early in life lays the foundations for future development. A child’s development during the first few years of life predicts their future personal and academic success. The skills they develop during those first few years also form the foundation of general well-being, including how well they will cope with successes and setbacks as adults. Providing a strong start in children’s early years is an effective investment to enhance education and later life outcomes. Seeking to improve individual or systemic learning issues at later ages is often less successful and more costly than doing so earlier.


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