I missed this when it first came out but Sara Mead of Education Sector has put together one of her typically smart, dispassionate, let the chips fall where they may discussions of the evidence. This time her focus is on the overselling of the importance of the birth to age three window for brain development. It’s a paper that all journalists interested in child development and education should read. Brains keep developing and learning throughout life. Plus, trying to hard-wire intelligence by sitting toddlers in front of a screen to watch a video runs against what we know about how young children learn best–through social interactions with those who love them and make them feel secure. Mead’s analysis doesn’t mean that what goes on early isn’t important. It certainly is and the body of evidence showing the value of such programs as David Olds’ Nurse Home Visiting Program is building. But it does mean that later investments are also crucial and that there isn’t the trade-off between zero-to-three and pre-k and kindergarten that some people pose.