To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I’m grateful that state leaders added 1,800 preschool slots as part of the state budget. It’s a smart investment, and life-changing thing for those 1,800 children.

As a father of a preschooler, I’m constantly reminded how quickly the young brain is picking things up. Every day there are new words, and new ideas (ranging from hilarious to disastrous). The research backs up my fatherly pride, and shows that these first few years of life are critical for cognitive development, which is why high-quality early education programs are so effective. So effective, in fact, these programs save taxpayers money over the long haul as kids do better in school and in life.

Unfortunately, there are still tens of thousands of kids in Massachusetts stuck on the wait list for early education program access. Let’s hope we can continue to invest in early education until every child gets the same strong start.

NATHAN PROCTOR

Boston

The writer is state director of Massachusetts Fair Share.