How does our early education shape our future?

Christine Farquharson

What do you picture when you think of education? Schools, teachers, homework, probably tests and exams... But education actually starts much earlier in life. Why are the early years so important, and how can they impact how a child grows up?

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What do you picture when you think of education? Schools, teachers, homework, probably tests and exams... But education actually starts much earlier in life. Why are the early years so important, and how can they impact how a child grows up?

The earliest years of our life are critical to our development, both biologically and educationally, and a child’s later experiences (in school, in their relationships, and later on at work) will build on the foundation of their early development. If we can shift a child’s development in the early years, with lasting effects, we can affect their outcomes for the rest of their lives. But this sensitive period can cut both ways. Positive influences during the early years can have lasting benefits, but the costs to growing up in an unsafe or unstimulating environment are also bigger.

If early education can be such a meaningful pivot point, what does the research tell us about what it should look like and how can we ensure that every child has access to it? Christine Farquharson is a Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK's leading economic research institute, where she researches how children develop and what government policy can do to support them. Christine joins us in The Garden to explore whether early education always lives up to its promise, and if not, how we can go about fixing it.

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

Collection

Unequal Society

About the Fellow

Christine Farquharson

Christine is a Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK's leading economic research institute, where she researches how children develop and what government policy can do to support them.

Thank you notes from Garden members

Unequal Society Collection

Our societies are becoming more economically unequal, but what can we do about it? Join the director and researchers of the IFS to discuss what needs to be done, and what's possible, to build a better future