Facts on Vermont’s Youngest Children[1]

    • There are 57,412 children age 8 or younger living in Vermont. That is 9.2% of Vermont’s total population.
    • Only 32% of the parents of infants, toddlers, and young children age 0-5 reported their children received developmental screening in 2011/12, while the state goal is 95%.
    • Recent Kindergarten Readiness Surveys from the Vermont Agency of Education show 40-50% of Vermont's children are assessed as unprepared for school in all 5 domains.
    • For our 3rd graders, 32% are reading below grade level, and that rate increases to 45% for children living below the poverty level. The third-grade literacy level is a key indicator of the likelihood of graduating from high school.

      Three Bright Spots in Vermont

      • Low infant mortality rate
      • National leader in number of children with health insurance
      • Low premature birth rate

      What Science Tells Us about Early Child Development[2]

      The Harvard Center for the Developing Child describes seven core concepts in the science of early childhood development:

      1. Healthy Development Builds a Strong Foundation - For Kids and For Society
      2. Experience Shapes Brain Architecture by Over-Production of Connections Followed by Pruning
      3. Brains Are Built from the Bottom Up: Skills Beget Skills
      4. Serve and Return Interaction Builds Healthy Brain Architecture
      5. Cognitive, Emotional, and Social Development Are Connected: You Can't Do One Without the Other
      6. Toxic Stress Damages Developing Brain Architecture
      7. The Ability to Change Brains and Behavior Decreases Over Time

      Four numbers to remember (Harvard Center)

      • For young children, 80% of brain development occurs before age 3, and 90% by age 5.
      • 700 new neural connections form per second
      • 18 months is the age at which disparities in vocabulary begin to appear
      • There is a 90–100% chance of developmental delays when children experience 6-7 risk factors

      Key Findings from Campaign Survey Research

      Hart Research Associates conducted a baseline survey for Let’s Grow Kids.
      Two of Hart’s key findings highlighted the need for this campaign:

      1. More education is needed on the significance of birth-to-three.
      2. While Vermonters think it is important to nurture and support young children, there is a broad sense that the status quo in this area is reasonably good.

      Survey Methodology     

      • 602 interviews were conducted by telephone (landline and cell)
      • All respondents were either registered to vote or have lived in the state for at least one year.
      • Interviews were conducted December 12-15, 2013 by Hart Research Associates.
      • Margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4.0 percentage points, higher for subgroups of the sample.

      NOTE: Infographics, photos and video will be available at:

      About Let’s Grow Kids

      Let's Grow Kids is a three-year, statewide public education campaign that aims to raise understanding of the importance of the earliest years in the lives of Vermont's children. Funded by a collaboration of private foundations, Let's Grow Kids is working with Vermont communities, organizations, businesses and individuals to create positive lasting change that will allow all of our children to succeed in life. Find more information at

      The collaborating funders include the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, the A.D. Henderson Foundation and the Turrell Fund.

      [1] Source: How Are Vermont’s Youngest Children?, April 2014 Report to the Vermont Legislature, prepared by Building Bright Futures