Even Europe’s most family-friendly countries don’t invest enough in their youngest kids

Europe has some of the world’s most family-friendly countries.

By the time they turn four, almost every European child will have access to some form of early childhood education and care. But despite successfully prioritizing this care, even these countries are struggling—if not outright failing—to invest enough in their youngest kids.

Science shows that a child’s experiences from birth through age five—everything from where they grow up to what they eat and what their relationships with adults around them is like—shape how their brains develop and, ultimately, who they become. That’s also when inequality sets in and widens the gap between rich and poor kids.

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