Yesterday was a big day for us at the college. The Early Learning Initiative (ELI) at NCI is close to all of our hearts because of its work with children and families from our local community in the Dublin Docklands. These programmes generally start from age 18 but we believe that to be effective, you have to start when a person is 18 months, not 18 years. By just three years of age, there are already significant differences in the language and mathematical development of children from affluent areas and those from disadvantaged communities. The gap continues to widen if it is not addressed before children start formal education – which is why our early years’ work is so very important for tackling educational disadvantage.