Early Years Matter

What Are the Early Years?

The term “early years” is often used to describe the period in a person’s life between birth and age 5. Early years services include child care and family support programmes. The early years are frequently an area of focus for researchers, policy makers, service planners, and advocacy groups because of the large amount of learning and development that occurs during this time. According to research, over 85% of a person’s brain development occurs by the age of 5.

Like the foundation of a house, the early years are the foundation of a person that supports everything that gets built on top, such as academic achievement, social skills, health and wellness, and employment success. It is much easier to build a strong house on top of a strong foundation.Early Years infographic explained below

Accessible Image Description: A structure shaped like a house. The foundation of the house reads "The Early Years". Inside the house reads "lifelong learning and critical thinking, coping skills and resilience building, high-quality learning environments, and caring, responsive relationships". Arrows point up toward the roof of the house. The roof  of the house reads "social skills, academic achievement, employment success, and physical and mental health".

Why Do the Early Years Matter to You?

Children are not the only recipients of the impact that the early years have. When the early years are valued and supported, there are benefits for everyone.

When children have access to high-quality learning environments, such as child care, they learn and develop important skills that prepare them for workplace success, including communication, resilience, motivation, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and self-management. These are considered “soft skills”, which experts say are the most important skills to have in today’s job market. The early years are the most crucial period of learning for these skills. When the early years are supported and invested in, our workforce becomes stronger, and employers have access to well-rounded employees.

When parents have access to child care for their children, there are multiple benefits for the family, the employer, and society as a whole. Parents are able to return to work – especially women – which allows families to bring in more income. Additionally, research shows that parents who experience difficulty accessing stable, high-quality child care are often forced to reduce work hours, turn down promotions, or quit their jobs. When the child care system is supported, studies show that employee absenteeism is reduced by around 30% and employee turnover is reduced by around 60%. Parents are also shown to be more motivated, focused, and productive employees when they are confident their children are in high-quality child care.

As a result, employers save money by not having to recruit, rehire, and train new staff, or cover absences. Employers will also experience a boost in revenue due to a higher volume and quality of work by employees. Supporting and investing in child care helps facilitate a happy, productive workforce. Society as a whole also experiences a boost to the economy due to job creation, increased tax revenue from working parents, reduced need for social assistance due to increased standard of living for families, more revenue from sales taxes due to increased spending by families, higher birth rates leading to more tax payers in the future, and a stronger workforce of the future leading to higher productivity, higher incomes, and increased tax revenue. Supporting and investing in the early years can help provide numerous other benefits to society, including lower rates of incarceration, smoking, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy, as well as higher birth and graduation rates.

Get Involved
  • Spread the word about why the early years are so important, and why people should care! Use the hashtag #EarlyYearsMatter on social media to share this message with everyone.
  • Follow @wellingtncounty on Twitter and like the County of Wellington Facebook page to learn more and to stay up to date on the #EarlyYearsMatter campaign. Feel free to tweet us or leave a comment with any questions or thoughts you have!
  • Engage in conversation with friends, family, colleagues, and others to help them understand why they should care about children’s early years, even if they don’t have children.



© 2019 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909