Early Child Development
Science shows Early Child Development that life is a story for which the beginning sets the tone. That makes the early years of childhood a time of great opportunity, but also great risk.
Early Child Development : Children’s brains are built, moment by moment, as they interact with their environments. In the first few years of life, more than one million neural connections are formed each second – a pace never repeated again. The quality of a child’s early experiences makes a critical difference as their brains develop, providing either strong or weak foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life.
In the first few years of life, Early Child Development and more than one million neural connections are formed each second – a pace never repeated again.
Early childhood offers a critical window of opportunity to shape the trajectory of a child’s holistic development and build a foundation for their future. For children to achieve their full potential, as is their human right, they need health care and nutrition, protection from harm and a sense of security, opportunities for early learning, and responsive caregiving – like talking, singing and playing – with parents and caregivers who love them. All of this is needed to nourish developing brains and fuel growing bodies.
For many millions of the world’s most disadvantaged children – including children living in poverty or affected by conflict and crisis, children on the move, children belonging to communities facing discrimination, and children with disabilities – we are often missing this window of opportunity.
Millions of children are not receiving the nutrition or health care they need, growing up exposed to violence, polluted environments and extreme stress. They miss out on opportunities to learn and are deprived of the stimulation that their developing brains need to thrive. Their parents and caregivers struggle to get the time, resources and services necessary to provide their children with nurturing care in these contexts.
When children miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, they pay the price in lost potential – dying before they have a chance to grow up, or going through life with poor physical and mental health; struggling to learn and, later, to earn a living. And we all pay the price. Failing to give children the best start in life perpetuates cycles of poverty and disadvantage that can span generations, undermining the strength and stability of our societies.