Almost 45 years after its debut, that slogan for the United Negro College Fund remains one of the most recognized in American advertising. With its motto, "The Early Years Matter," Ready At Five is focused on a similar, enduring message, but rather on the 'front end' of a child's developing mind. In the first years of life, more than 1 million neural connections form in the brain every second, building the brain's architecture and providing the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Barriers detrimental to that brain's educational achievement can start early, including those caused by poverty, caregiver mental illness, child maltreatment, and low maternal education. By the time that child reaches kindergarten, he is already behind his peers. Time and time again, the adverse effects of his gap only multiplies unless there are interventions. One proven, successful intervention is high-quality preschool. When we provide all children with equitable opportunities to attend high-quality preschool, we ameliorate some of the risks to their learning and development. Even economists illustrate that the early years matter, finding that there is a huge return on the public investment when children from low-income families attend high-quality early childhood programs.