Early Years Matter: Getting India’s future right through integrated Early Childhood Development
– Authored by Pooja D’Souza, Aniruddh Gupta and Prerna Bhardwaj
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is a concept that envelops both a child and the child’s environment. It is a period of pivotal development of the cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional and physical faculties of children from conception to six years of age. It is the foundation on which the framework of a child’s life-long learning, behavior and health heavily rests. Investing in holistic ECD is one of the wisest decisions a country can make while embarking on a journey of growth and sustainable development. With India having one of the largest young populations in the world, nurturing ECD will unlock the infinite potential of the nation’s children.
As a nation, it would be interesting to explore the parameters surrounding successful ECD in order to ensure that we achieve them. Healthy ECD is an outcome defined by a young child being adequately nourished, physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally sound, socially competent and ready to learn. 80% of a child’s brain growth occurs by the age of three and in the early years of life (birth – six years) which are distinct “windows of opportunities”.
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