A smiling pre-school student clutches a book to her chest at the Early Steps for School Success program (ESSS) in Barnwell, South Carolina: Photo credit: Susan Warner/Save the Children, October 2014.

A smiling pre-school student clutches a book to her chest at the Early Steps for School Success program (ESSS) in Barnwell, South Carolina.

U.S. Education Programs

Importance of Early Learning

Did you know that nearly 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they turn 5? Yet children from low-income families hear roughly 30 million fewer words by age 3 and can enter school more than 18 months behind their more affluent peers. In fact, millions of kids living in rural America don’t own a single book. That’s why early learning opportunities are so critical for children, regardless of their family’s income.

Our education experts work across rural America, providing early learning opportunities through Early Steps, Early Head Start and Head Start programs. Our school-age programs provide supplemental support to struggling readers during school, and in afterschool and summer settings. These programs are proven to accelerate achievement for at-risk children and have been replicated in more than 100 communities across the country. 

School closures due to the coronavirus pandemic present an added threat—disrupting children’s education and placing their psychological wellbeing at risk. As national leaders in early childhood education, Save the Children is committed to help children and families during this uncertain time by providing learning resources for our nation’s youngest learners. Join us for 100 Days of Reading to help. By logging your reading minutes, you can help get books and educational materials into the hands of kids who have none.  

Explore Our Child Education Work in the U.S.
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