Children who are not exposed to early learning opportunities before age 5 are left at a distinct disadvantage - and nowhere is this more evident than in America's most under-served communities. But it doesn't need to be this way.

Playtime is Important Child's Work

When playtime isn’t part of a young child’s every day, they miss out on important skill-building exercises. Productive playtime builds motor and language skills and encourages problem solving, collaboration, sharing and so much more.

Many parents who live in poverty may not have the skills they need to support their children’s development. For parents who live below the poverty line, educational toys and books – as well as the free time needed to engage in playtime – can be out of reach.

As we look toward year end and think about the holiday gift-giving season, there’s no better way to ensure a child’s bright future than by investing in the power of playtime.

The Power of Playtime

Too many of America’s rural areas lack high-quality early childhood education programs. And too many parents living in these communities may not have the time, tools or know-how to help fill the void.

This means that far too many children in the U.S. are missing out chances to play safely and grow their imaginations through playtime.

The effects are devastating.

  • On average, children living in poverty have heard 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers by the time they turn age 3.i
  • By age 5, half of all children living in poverty are not academically or socially ready to start school.
  • An estimated 63% of low-income 3 and 4-year-old children in the United States do not attend nursery school or preschool.ii
  • Children living in poverty and with little to no access to early education are already 18 months behind developmentally by age 4; by grade 4, children not at grade level are unlikely to catch up.iii

Ways to Help This Holiday Season

You can help provide children in the U.S. with the educational tools they need to start learning at a young age.

A gift to Save the Children can support early learning programs in some of America’s most underserved communities.

i: 5 Hart, Betty and Todd R. Risley. “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.” American Educator, Spring 2003.
ii: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. Data Release. 2014.
iii: 7 National Center for Child Poverty, 2007; Kids Count Data Center, 2011


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