Early childhood research has contributed significantly to the development of public policies to create and expand services for young children and their families. Most recently, research on the neurodevelopment of children during the first 3 years of life has demonstrated how critical early experiences are to children’s future development and school success. These early experiences impact the degree to which children form attachments, are curious and interested in the world around them, and develop the ability to communicate, explore, learn, and play. The importance of early neurodevelopment and the findings from several classic early childhood longitudinal studies have spurred legislation to create programs at the federal and state levels, such as Head Start and Early Head Start, early childhood special education, and state prekindergartens.

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