Start Early


Start Early advances quality early learning for families with children, before birth through their earliest years, to help close the opportunity gap.

what we do

Our comprehensive approach to early learning and care applies our deep expertise in program, policy and research so that children, families and educators can thrive.


From our roots directly serving families and children on Chicago’s South Side and in rural Illinois, we have expanded to impact programs and policies nationwide.

it matters

Early learning matters. A child’s brain develops faster from birth to age 5 than at any other time of life. And the opportunity gap is measurable as early as 9 months of age.


On average, children from under-resourced communities enter kindergarten 18 months behind their more advantaged peers; and no school system can remediate this gap on a large scale.

get involved

Decades of research have proven that quality early learning and care programs are a smart investment. Economist James Heckman has demonstrated that early interventions can break the cycle of poverty for multiple generations. Parents do better. Children do better. And when those children become adults, their children also do better.


Equality starts at birth, and the impact lasts a lifetime. Help us change the course for our youngest learners.