By Melissa Smith, Head of Born to Read - Save the Children 

As part of the Read On. Get On. campaign, we’re working to make sure that by 2025, every child reads well by age 11. A crucial part of that is to get our youngest children ready to read and ready to learn.

A child’s future chances depend on the support they get in their early years, to give children the best start in life we need the best possible nurseries and the best possible support from families at home. But we need your help to show the UK government that the public wants investment in early years education.

The early stages of a child’s education are critical, as three-to-five-year-old brains are wired for learning. During this time, young children make leaps in their development that won’t happen so easily once they’re older.

That’s why good quality early years education is so important. For the poorest children, it can mean the difference between getting good qualifications and a well-paid job or struggling for the rest of their lives. But right now, our poorest children are falling behind their better-off peers before they even start school.

Early years education should be affordable, but it must also give children all they need to develop their language and communication skills; to grow physically, socially and emotionally; and to take those critical first steps in literacy and maths. 

Children in England are arriving for their first day of school still struggling to speak in full sentences or understand simple instructions. Good nurseries, led by early years teachers, are crucial if we’re going to fix this. But two in five independently-run don’t employ a single early-years teacher. 

That’s why we’re calling for a clear commitment in the UK government’s 2017 budget to invest in early years education, to make sure there’s an early-years teacher leading every nursery, so children in England get the help they need to develop when their brains are busiest getting ready for the future. 

You can play a vital role in improving early years education by supporting our campaign on twitter:  

Join me and @savechildrenuk to call on the government to invest in children’s futures #ReadOnGetOn 

And by adding your name to a petition led by the child psychologist Dr Eziabet Kilbey, who took part in Channel 4's The Secret Lives of 4, 5 & 6 year olds.  

Beanstalk is a founding member of the Read On. Get On. campaign, which aims to make sure that by 2025 every child reads well by age 11.