Integrated Approaches to Early Childhood Development: 0-3 Years
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WHAT WE MEAN BY INTEGRATED EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Early childhood development, or ECD, is about the ‘whole child' – the physical, social, emotional, cognitive thinking and language progression of each young individual. We now know that there is an early window of opportunity to provide the nourishment, stimulation, vaccinations and security that children need for their brains to develop fully and to help fulfil their own potential.
For optimal child development, especially in the first 1,000 days from conception, recent evidence1 suggests that each of the following is required from parents, caregivers and service providers to meet a child's needs:
- Adequate maternal and child nutrition
- Psychosocial support for pregnant women and lactating mothers
- Early stimulation
- Protective, safe and caring environments
- Regular screening checks related to developmental milestones
- Early detection, and interventions for children with suspected developmental delay
- Services to support children at risk of violence, abuse or other social or family issues
- Access to social assistance for the economically poorest of children, who are particularly vulnerable to developmental delays. Referring children to appropriate social assistance may prevent suboptimal development and possibly the perpetuation of the poverty cycle.