What Do We Know and What Is the Relevance for Africa?

The fact that the early years of life play a major role in children's development has been corroborated with increasing new evidence reviewed in the most recent Lancet Series in Child Development. Risk factors for poor development include poor maternal nutrition, lack of stimulation and learning opportunities, and exposure to violence, but protective factors such as breastfeeding and maternal education can reduce these negative effects.
These early influences can change a child's developmental trajectory, wage earning and eventual life course. Programs for young children as diverse as parenting incorporated into health and nutrition programs, preschool, educational media, cash transfer programs, and ECD components of programs for HIV-positive and severely malnourished children have made a difference in children's learning outcomes. But despite these promising efforts, disparities are increasing, both within and between countries. In the African context, risk factors such as malaria are putting more children at developmental risk. Preschool experience, which can facilitate school performance, is unevenly distributed among countries and even within countries, as it tends to be for the urban wealthy. Considering the wealth of data on the value of preschool and parenting programs, these should be made components of a quality educational system that promises to reduce disparities in school achievement and productivity.

Informations générales
The Lancet Series on Early Childhood Development
Format de document: 
Type de document: 
Date de parution: 
Versions disponibles