Considering Research on Early Years: EasyPeasy

Last month we published an article titled “The Developmental and Economic Impacts of Sound Early Childhood Services” which describes the convincing argument for investing money and resources into programming for infants and toddlers.  Part of the argument’s foundation rests in economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman’s work.  

Here at Edspace, our very own EasyPeasy takes Heckman’s work into heavy consideration. Heckman conceives of government spending as investment in the citizenry and labour force of that state. Based on his economic modelling, investing in the early years yields the greatest return, whether looking at through the lens of labour force skills, or the health and wellbeing of citizens.

Jen Lexmond, CEO and Founder, describes how Heckman’s idea of investment resonated with her since the early stages of her career.  She mulled over his works, among those of  other academics and researchers, a personal process that ultimately manifested in the idea for EasyPeasy, an application for parents or adults to use with children in the early years.  

The application rests on the basis that appropriate development during the early years of a child’s life depends on effective parenting.  All parents do not have great access to information to aid and understand their child’s development process, so EasyPeasy provides an inexpensive and accessible platform for all parents to do just that.  Different games and activities are scaffolded so activity is appropriately challenging; learners will be pushed but not discouraged (this setup is inspired by Heckman’s idea of building a “scaffolding of support”).  

EasyPeasy, while influenced by these prominent works, is also determined to contribute to and produce its own research.  Lexmond describes the company as empirically driven - through small and large scale evaluations both on their own or with bigger collaborators such as the Sutton Trust and University of Oxford.  As of today, traditional infrastructure and the government do not easily lend support to early childhood services.  Therefore, it is critical that EasyPeasy and other companies that forge the way do so with products and conclusions that contribute to the policy sphere surrounding early childhood and families.