Returns on investments in human development are the highest during the first three years of life, according to Nobel-winning economist James Heckman and other economic researchers. Children who participate in high-quality early childhood programs are more likely to succeed in school and adult life, as well as contribute to society and the economy.

"Skills beget skills," says Heckman. "That’s one of the reasons the rate of return is so high for early investments. It has a direct effect on producing a set of skills that are immediately useful and that are also useful in producing future sets of skills."