Early Childhood Care and Development

posted Nov 28, 2013, 12:38 AM by Catherine A. Honeyman   [ updated Dec 23, 2013, 1:03 AM ]

Ishya Consulting recently completed two different studies on early childhood care and development programming in Rwanda, focusing on Plan Rwanda's ECCD Centers and CHF/Global Community's Under Five Playgroups. While these two strategies are organized differently--the former emphasizes center-based programming, while the latter is a weekly playgroup intended to involve parents along with their children--both initiatives highlight the efforts that NGOs in Rwanda are making to contribute to national objectives of improving the care and education available to young children.

The Rwandan government finalized its Integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) Strategic Plan in 2011,[i] intending to promote the physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of young children from birth to age 6. The ECD Strategic Plan argues that “…investments in ECD are among the most cost-effective investments a country can make”, since investment in ECD “… enhances the child’s survival, growth and development, and this is especially so for marginalized and disadvantaged children.”[ii] Indeed, there is broad research consensus that well-conceived early childhood care and development programs help children become more competent socially and emotionally, develop higher verbal and intellectual capacities, set the stage for success in school and—through these factors—help promote broader human and economic development.[iii] Early childhood care and development programs can also mitigate the effects of socioeconomic and gender-related inequities.[iv]

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[i] MINEDUC, "Integrated Early Childhood Development Strategic Plan," ed. MINEDUC (Kigali, Rwanda2011).
[ii] Ibid., 4.
[iii] Jacques van der Gaag, "From Child Development to Human Development," in From Early Child Development to Human Development: Investing in Our Children's Future, ed. Mary Eming Young (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2002).
[iv] The World Bank, "Early Childhood Counts: Programming Resources for Early Childhood Care and Development," (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 1999); UNICEF, "Inequities in Early Childhood Development: What the Data Say," (New York: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 2012).

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