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In the brain of newborn child neurons rapidly begin connecting and while this continues forever most if it is complete by age 2. this is the basis of early childhood development.
ECD spans from the moment of conception until the beginning a primary school and encompasses four areas, physical well-being, health and nourishment cognitive development, memory and IQ, linguistic development, a child’s vocabulary, and ability to read and write socio-emotional development, a child’s perseverance and ability to work with others. This is the ECD, we already know four things that work.
In Argentina, improving maternal health reduced low birth weight by 23 percent. In Guatemala, better childhood nutrition improved adult test scores by nine percent.
Twenty years later, parental stimulation increased earnings by 25 percent in Jamaica and it reduced crime by 30 percent and in Mozambique, a pre-school education improved cognitive development by 87 percent. These ECD investments build strong bodies and minds.
ECD also reduces inequality. In the United States if all low-income children went to good preschools disparities in readiness for primary school would drop, 24 percent between white and black children and 35 percent between white and Hispanic children.
ECD levels the playing field and it makes economic sense too by cutting off problems early and preventing higher costs down the road. Yet sadly not enough ECD investments are being made.
In developing countries ten to twenty percent of pregnant women are malnourished, one in four kids suffer from stunted growth that’s 165 million kids and throughout the world access to preschool education is dramatically dependent upon wealth:
1. In high-income countries, eighty-four percent of children have access to preschool.
2. In middle-income countries, only 53 percent do.
3. In low-income countries only seventeen percent do.
Why haven’t we used what works to make children happy and healthy around the world?
1. Lack of financing, simply put, not enough money.
2. Low capacity and quality, schools.
Governments can’t always manage things the way they need to or don’t always view ECD as their responsibility.
3. Gaps in knowledge, we know that some things work, but we don’t always know exactly how.
4. Insufficient political support it takes a long time to see a return on investment when focusing on the youngest among us.
1. Leveraging the private sector using things like social impact bonds to help the private sector support children, make profits and develop a skilled workforce for the future.
2. Measuring quality, developing widely used indicators for young children so we can learn more about what works.
3. Conducting more research and establishing learning networks.