What is Early Childhood Development?
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is a set of comprehensive, systematic interventions in education, health and nutrition, as well as social and emotional stimulation for children from 0 through 5 years old.
Why invest in Early Childhood Development?
The first years of life for humans are not only vitally important for their growth and for the development of their cognitive, communication and social skills, but also become the fundamental pillar for the development of a country’s social capital. So much so, that the investment in Early Childhood Development is one of the world’s greatest concerns. In recent years, many research advancements have been made in the neurobiological, behavioral and social sciences. These advancements have increased our understanding of the factors that influence children’s interim and long-term well-being :
- The greatest brain development occurs during this period and that it is in this stage that the abilities to think, speak, learn and reason are developed;
- Good-quality education in this first stage is a determining factor for children to develop to their full potential and enter the formal education system on an equal status;
- Economic analysis confirms that education is the surest way to escape poverty;
- Nutrition, healthcare and breastfeeding directly affect the connections made in the brain during this period;
- It is the most powerful way that a society has to establish equitable foundations. Fostering an equal start in life is the duty of the State and of society, whereby all boys and girls without exception are guaranteed to begin their lives with no disadvantages;
- Helping children in the first stages of their life has a multiplier effect on society. If we let the opportunity that presents itself in the first years of life slip by, it becomes more and more difficult, in terms of time as well as resources, for children to reach their full developmental potential