The importance of early years experience on the developing brain and children's developmental trajectories is a message the science community has long sent – and it's a message that has been well received by policy and practice over the past decade. Indeed, the upsurge in pre-school provision such as Head Start in the US and Sure Start in the UK indicates the importance placed on early years by policy makers.

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Home visting programs help promote positive parenting behaviors in order to promote a healthy home environment. These programs can help prevent child neglect or abuse. In Memphis specifically, the Nurse-Family Partnership home visiting program has reduced health care encounters by 28% and hospitalizations for injuries of young children by 79%. The Nurse-Family Partnership program is just one of many home visiting programs.

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One of the most distressing and challenging aspects of parenting is figuring out the best way to deal with a child’s aggression. Fortunately for parents, working with children to learn to control themselves during their earliest years has been shown to be the most effective way of preventing the development of behavioral issues as they mature.

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Violence and conflict in the home can have detrimental consequences to a developing baby. A child does not have to be the direct recipient of the violence to be a victim. Simply experiencing a toxic home environment can produce negative consequences on a child. The more frequent and the more violent conflicts are, the more susceptible the child will be. The consequences, both physically and psychologically, of a chaotic home environment can last a lifetime.

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Like most urban systems, Memphis City Schools have demonstrated the kind of achievement numbers that keep school reformers up at night. One in three students fail to graduate, and those who continue remain far behind by all achievement measures. Just 4 percent of seniors score well enough on entrance exams to qualify to take college-level courses without remedial work.

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