Policy makers are becoming increasingly concerned with the long term consequences of childhood experiences. This concern is fuelled by the belief that the early years of life are crucial in shaping later life. Catch them young and save society trouble later on, runs the argument. Kenan Malik asks whether policies towards young children are based on reliable scientific evidence or on political claims.
Contributors include Professor Norman Glass, founder of Britain's Sure Start programme, Professor John Bruer, author of The Myth of the First Three Years and Professor Usha Goswami who is setting up a Centre for Neuroscience in Education at Cambridge University.