The early years are critical, because this is the period in life when the brain develops most rapidly and has a high capacity for change, and the foundation is laid for health and wellbeing throughout life. ECD is a optimal development of the child area of work for WHO, as it is a window of opportunity to improve health and equity. The health sector has a key role to play.
It has the potential to reach many families and children during pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood, and is poised to deliver effective interventions for optimal development of young children. ECD Action Network, and many other partners, is launching the first global online public consultation on a Nurturing Care Framework for early childhood development. The first of a 2-stage online consultation is now open until 6th February. Child development entails the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence, as the individual progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy. There are various definitions of periods in a child’s development, since each period is a continuum with individual differences regarding start and ending. Promoting child development through parental training, among other factors, promotes excellent rates of child development.
Parents play a large role in a child’s life, socialization, and development. Having multiple parents can add stability to the child’s life and therefore encourage healthy development. The optimal development of children is considered vital to society and so it is important to understand the social, cognitive, emotional, and educational development of children. Increased research and interest in this field has resulted in new theories and strategies, with specific regard to practice that promotes development within the school system. There are also some theories that seek to describe a sequence of states that compose child development. Also called “development in context” or “human ecology” theory, ecological systems theory, originally formulated by Urie Bronfenbrenner specifies four types of nested environmental systems, with bi-directional influences within and between the systems. The four systems are microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem.
Each system contains roles, norms and rules that can powerfully shape development. Jean Piaget was a Swiss scholar who began his studies in intellectual development in the 1920s. Piaget’s first interests were those that dealt with the ways in which animals adapt to their environments and his first scientific article about this subject was published when he was 10 years old. This eventually led him to pursue a Ph. Zoology, which then led him to his second interest in epistemology. This is the first stage in Piaget’s theory, where infants have the following basic senses: vision, hearing, and motor skills. In this stage, knowledge of the world is limited but is constantly developing due to the child’s experiences and interactions.