Early TODAY | October 08, 2012
>> today" an innovative day care program. the first two years of a baby's life offer a short and invaluable opportunity to stimulate learning skills. "today" contributing correspondent jigier checked out one approach that focusses on the early important learning years.
>> a level playing field is what single mom wendy moreno wants for her two boys who were attending what she called an inadequate day care .
>> if they didn't want to color or do nothing, they would make them watch tv.
>> they pretty much waived tv all day long.
>> watched tv all day long.
>> many children spend a lot of time without having anyone talk to them, without being picked up.
>> reporter: psychologist diana rouners is looking to change this dangerous pattern and starting early within the first 1,000 days of a child's life.
>> we do need high quality early education setting, not just so moms can go to work but more importantly so these children can develop the language skills, the behavior skills, the social skills that will allow them to be successful.
>> she developed an innovative education system called educare, a year round school that serves the community's most vulnerable children starting at 6 months of age.
>> this is a time when education needs to be as rich and as supportive as possible because so much is going on.
>> reporter: the head of the center for early childhood education at harvard university has new research that shows how neglect in the first few years of life can actually change a child's brain forever.
>> so when a child is getting almost no stimulation, the brain starts to kind of lose its architecture. can you see some of the connections actually wither away and you can get death of brain cells , and the result is a brain that is less well wired for learning. it's socially and culturally foolish to allow this to happen, right? this is not about everybody ending up the same. this is about everybody starting at a level playing field .
>> reporter: which is exactly what the boys got when their mom signed them up for educare, making a choice that she thinks has reshaped their future.
>> they have learned a lot. i look as my son, and he's doing everything. he's talking, he's walking, he's saying his numbers. he knows what he's doing.
>> reporter: does that make you feel proud as a mom?
>> it did, and it makes me feel good.
>> reporter: these boys may have started off at an academic disadvantage, but now they are ahead of the game. for "today," jenna bush hager , oma omaha, nebraska.