LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Early education lays the foundation for students development. Based on a new study, Arkansas ranks as the best state in the country when it comes to those developmental years.

The study, by Wallethub, ranks states across 12 key factors. Arkansas sits at at the top of the list based on access to pre-k, as well as the quality of pre-k education.

The Arkansas Department of Education works with DHS and puts a priority on early education. State officials say 85 to 90% of a childs brain develops in those early years. That is why they focus on making sure quality pre-k is available to everyone here in Arkansas.

“I think the investment in pre-k along with head start and some of our federal childcare money have really created the access for that three and four year old population and I think that’s the acknowledgement of this report,” DHS Division of Childcare and Childhood Education Director Tonya Williams said. 

They also put an emphasis on early intervention and screening kids to make sure they are developing at the right pace.

“To make sure they are meeting those developmental milestones is imperative and then how we act on those children that are delayed in some of those developmental milestones providing early intervention is an investment,” ADE Early Childhood Programs Director Lori Bridges said. 

State officials say it’s not just the curriculum but the teachers that make all the difference.