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Global Action Week: The Importance of Early Learning

During Global Action Week, April 22-28, ChildFund joins organizations and professionals worldwide to raise public awareness about the critical importance of children’s first years.

An annual effort of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the week’s 2012 focus is on children’s development in their earliest years. The campaign’s tagline — “Rights From the Start! Early Childhood Care and Education Now!” — refers to the organization’s call upon governments across the globe to recognize every child’s right to quality early education.

When most people hear the phrase “early childhood development,” the first thing they typically think of is preschool. But ECD, as it’s known, encompasses much more.

The fact is that learning begins at birth. From the GCE: “Research shows that early learning programs for babies and toddlers have positive effects that extend beyond the first years of school, well into adulthood and go on to benefit society as a whole.”

But, in developing countries, poverty and the attendant ill-health, malnutrition, lack of parental education and other factors compromise the ability of children to achieve their full developmental potential. Caregivers need help and support to create environments and experiences that stimulate children’s minds in all their daily activities — from infancy.

ChildFund works with families, communities, governments and other partners to provide the children we serve with the learning opportunities that are fundamental to their futures as successful adults. Through our programs, community volunteers learn to support and educate their neighbors who are parents. Parents, in turn, work and play with their children and transform their homes into language-rich, stimulating environments for children to explore (safely!). Preschools supported by ChildFund are child-centered, created with an eye toward helping children meet age-appropriate developmental targets. This helps prepare them to make the most of their school experiences, and for the all-important transitions to primary school and beyond.

During Global Action week, join us on Facebook and at the ChildFund blog as we highlight some of our ECD efforts around the world. To learn more about ECD, visit the website of the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, in which ChildFund is a partner.

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