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14 Apr 2012
Many challenges in adult society like mental health problems, obesity, heart
disease and criminality, competence in literacy and numeracy have their roots in
early childhood.
Economists argue that an investment in early childhood is the most powerful
investment a ctry can make.
Research now shows that children’s early environment has a vital impact on the
way their brains develop.
The more stimulating their early environment the more positive connections are
formed in the brain and the better the child thrives in all aspects of his or her life
in terms of physical, emotional and social development and the ability to express
themselves and acquire knowledge.
Globally those societies that invest in children and families in the early years, rich
or poor have the most literate and numerate population.
These are the societies that have the best health status and lowest levels of health
inequality in the world.
Success in promoting early child development doesn’t depend on society and
being wealthy but depends on skills of the caregivers and the cost of effective
programs varies with the wage structure of the societies.
The early years are marked by the rapid development of the central
nervous system.
The environmental conditions to which children are exposed in the
earliest years literally sculpt the developing brain.
The environments that are responsible for fostering nurturant
conditions for children range from the intimate realm of the family
to the broader socioeconomic context shaped by the governments,
international agencies and civil societies.
These characteristics are the determinants of ECD.
ECD is a determinant of health, well being and learning skills
across the balance of the life course.
Economics argue based on the issue of investment that investment
in ECD is the most powerful investment a country can make with
returns over the life course many times the size of the original
investment. The scope of the present report is four fold
1. To demonstrate which environments matter most for
2. To review which environmental configurations are optimal
for ECD including economic ,social and physical nature
3. To determine the contingency relationships that connect the
broader socioeconomic context of society
4. To highlight opportunities to foster nurturant conditions for
children at multiple levels of society and by multiple
Early childhood-is defined as the period from prenatal development to eight years of age.
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What is now known is that the inequities in socio economic status results in to
inequities in ECD.
The relationship between socio economic status and ECD is known as
Relational community-refers to the people, adults and children who help form a
child’s social identity; tribal, ethnic, religious and language/cultural.
Spheres of influence on early child development
The individual-during this early years the experiences good and quality nutrition
and environmental exposure attachments to the caregiver that a child receives will
be instrumental in the successful development of early brain function.
Family and dwelling
Residential and relational communities
ECD programmes and services
Regional,national and global environments
In each sphere of influence social, economic, cultural and gender factors affect its
nurturant qualities.
The individual child
Earliest years of life are characterized by the most important development that
occurs in a human lifespan
The earliest years are marked by the most rapid development particularly of the
central nervous system.
Sensitive periods of the development of the brain happen at this time
During this early years, the experiences for example good quality nutrition and
the environmental exposure for example attachment of the caregiver that a child
receives will be instrumental in the successful development of early brain
The development that occurs in the early years provides the essential building
blocks for a lifetime of success in many domains of life including economic,
social and physical wellbeing.
Biological Embedding
The interaction that occurs between individual characteristics genetic and
physiologic and experiences and environmental exposures drawn from the
environment are basic to the development of a child.
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