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First 5 Riverside County’s commitment to serving our youngest children stems from the research in brain development showing that the experiences of children in their earliest years significantly affect the way they grow and develop. Positive results in the early years dramatically impact their physical, mental, emotional and social development. This, in turn, reduces the social and financial costs of services the children might need in later years.

During the early years, critical connections form between nerve cells – creating pathways that determine an individual’s emotional, social, and intellectual makeup. While many factors influence brain development, your early interactions have the most impact. Studies show that playing with young children prepares them to interact appropriately with others. Likewise, reading to young children helps them gain language skills that prepares them to succeed in school.

By investing in those first five years, we help connect families with programs that give children a healthy start during such a critical period.