Brains are built, not born. During the first years of life, babies’ experiences are built into their bodies — shaping brain development and building the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. When we support our babies and toddlers in having the opportunity to fulfill their potential, we create the best outcomes in health, education, and economic well-being for everyone in North Carolina.

Think Babies™ NC, funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and Zero To Three, aims to improve outcomes for North Carolina’s babies and toddlers and their families. Research demonstrates that when policies and programs ensure healthy beginnings at birth, support families, and make high-quality child care and learning environments more accessible and affordable, young children benefit.

When we support them in their earliest years, we prepare our babies to grow, learn and succeed—and our communities, workforce and economy become stronger and more productive.

Think Babies™ NC seeks to advance policies that support the healthy development of North Carolina’s babies and toddlers. It is aligned with the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. Think Babies™ NC is led by the NC Early Education Coalition with support from the NC Early Childhood Foundation and a Leadership Team of state and local organizations focused on advancing public awareness and policy solutions for infants, toddlers, and their families.


Health & Development on Track, Starting at Birth

Babies’ development is impacted by their health. Healthy adults are more likely to conceive healthy babies, and women with health insurance are more likely to get timely and adequate prenatal care. Supporting pregnant women at work reduces infant mortality and improves mom’s and baby’s health.When parents have health insurance, young children are more likely to access needed health care services. Babies who have good health in utero, good birth outcomes, and access to health services are more likely to be healthy and on-track during childhood and throughout life.

Supported and Supportive Families and Communities

Supportive families and communities play a critical role in building strong foundations for learning. A stable, secure, nurturing relationship with a competent, caring adult is a key factor in babies and toddlers’ healthy growth and development. All parents are stretched in the earliest months and years of their children’s lives, and services like home visiting and family friendly workplace policies can provide parents with support they may need at this especially critical time. 

High Quality Early Care and Education

Children’s development and learning in the first few years lay the foundation for all of the years that follow. Children who attend high-quality early education programs are better prepared for success in school—academically, socially and emotionally. Children in higher quality programs have more advanced language and math skills, more advanced social skills, and more supportive relationships with their teachers. Access to high-quality child care with well educated, well-compensated teachers helps prepare children to grow, learn and succeed.

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