Focus on Education from Birth

It’s time to expand the focus of education beyond traditional school systems—kindergarten through higher education—by including an emphasis on early learning and development beginning at the start of life.

Formal educational programs typically start at age five or six, even though learning begins at birth. For children up to age five, the lack of focus on education can delay childhood development—especially for those in disadvantaged communities. Governments in low- and middle-income countries only spend between 0.1% and 0.2% of gross national product on early learning and education.

If we create the conditions for—and invest in—learning and academic success at the start of life, then we will improve school readiness and reduce inequalities in early-childhood development.

Emerging Model: Lumin Education

Launched in 1978, Dallas-based Lumin Education provides education to children from the age of 15 months through third grade, 75% of whom come from minority and/or low-income families. The program has since expanded to three sites, now serving more than 550 young children in Dallas.

Every family that participates in the Lumin program is assigned a parent educator who teaches parents to support learning. Its Home Visiting Program focuses on teaching parents from pregnancy until their children reach age three. For those with children ages one through five, Lumin offers daily courses.

Lumin is consistently recognized for its development of young learners. The organization earned the 2011 National Educational Achievement Award for emotional development and the 2013 Exemplar award from the Montessori Leadership Collaborative.