The resources can be found. Although we are still cleaning up from the collapse of the world’s financial markets, economists tell us that public spending is the best antidote. This science of early development provides a framework to look beyond public works and incentives for the Big Three auto companies, to another important trio—preparing our future workforce, supporting parents to work or upgrade theirskills and strengthening democratic communities.
Our goal in producing this third edition of the Early Years Study is to bolster the network of scientists, educators and parents, and of policy makers, administrators and community activists, providing them with a heightened capacity to make decisions and take action. We hope to spark the best thinking on public policy innovation, service delivery design, family and community engagement and public accountability. We need the best messaging and the most effective means of delivering it. And we must identify and reach those who do not know about the science of early human development and need to.
In this area, foundations are making a contribution. Like Professor Bouchard’s report, With Our Best Future in Mind: Implementing Early Learning in Ontario was commissioned by a provincial government.9 Released in 2009, it was unique in focusing not on why early childhood development should be an economic and social priority, but rather on how to effectively couple new public investments with existing resources to maximize results for children, families and communities. It is the basis for the Ontario government’s initiative to expand early education to a full day for all 4- and 5-year-olds.
The back story to the report and the Ontario government’s culminating commitment is the decadelong journey of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation to turn scientific evidence into community action and ultimately public policy. It began with a simple but compelling assumption: it is only through public policy that permanent and sustainable changes for a better future can take place.
Next: 4. Turning Science into Action
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