Early childhood education and care pays triple dividend for society

Incorporating early childhood education and care (ECEC) within family-friendly policies has the potential for a “triple dividend” of children’s positive development, women’s empowerment and economic growth, as described in a new report from Public Health Wales.

The report, that looks at experiences, policies, programmes, and data from different countries, identifies that by making the most of this window of opportunity, when a child’s brain is developing at a rapid rate, can not only benefit the long term health of the individual child but can also bring benefits to wider society.

As unpaid care is the primary factor that keeps women from joining the workforce, increasing access to ECEC is one mechanism by which to improve women’s employment and for them to feel more empowered.

In turn, the report identifies that quality affordable childcare contributes to economic growth, with estimates showing an increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with more women in the workforce and a seven per cent return on investment to society through benefits of improved early childhood development.

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