How stronger early childhood development might solve many of Manitoba’s social problems.

Early childhood development matters.As we prepare for the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Summit we’re co-hosting with the Government of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council (WPRC), we offer you this thoughtful backgrounder from the Winnipeg Free Press, Pay now… or really pay later: Recent breakthroughs in brain science may show how to solve many of Manitoba’s social problems.

“Some remarkable new brain science has begun to show just how critical the first few years of a baby’s life are. Now, policy-makers say putting that science into practice, in the form of a broad and co-ordinated early childhood system, could be the solution to almost every intractable social problem we have.”

“It’s pretty close,” said Rob Santos, associate secretary for cabinet’s healthy child committee and a University of Manitoba researcher. “If you take the science seriously, this is the best place to put our dollars, from all angles.”

Research suggests we take a new approach to dealing with poverty, crime and other challenges, one that helps stop them before they start. Investing today in a healthy beginning for our community’s children may pay significant returns, and save a lot of money, in the future.

As part of our focus on addressing the underlying causes of social issues in Winnipeg, United Way is working with the WPRC and the Province to start conversations about how we can shift our approach to early childhood care, development, and education.

The ECD Summit is a great beginning for those conversations.

“(It) involves business leaders in the discussion over what’s next for early childhood development. (We’ll) be looking at what the data say works, what innovations could be next and how to move ahead with a long-term plan.”

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