Early childhood development

Children learning on a carpet

In recognition of the fact that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, starting from conception, are key for her long-term outcomes, governments across Young Lives countries have tried to develop policies that will ensure access to nutrition, water, sanitation, healthcare and early learning programmes for marginalised groups during this period. However, as in the rest of the world, disadvantaged children in Young Lives countries are less likely to benefit from early childhood programmes than their better-off peers. Minority groups are especially at risk, because of language and cultural barriers.

Agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals signals that early childhood development (ECD) will be a priority focus for the twenty-first century. Explicit mention is made in Target 4.2 which states that by 2030 countries should: ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education’. But SDG commitments to ECD are much broader than this education-focused target. Young Lives believe that strengthening early childhood development is key to achieving at least seven of the Sustainable Development Goals goals, on poverty, hunger, health (including child mortality), education, gender, water and sanitation, and inequality.

Latest research: Early childhood development

Group of children and young adults outside a school
Longitudinal Research with the children of the Millennium. Highlights and overall key messages
Research Report
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IMPACT CASE STUDY Early Child Development: informing policy and making it a priority
Impact case study
Migration from rural to urban areas and vocabulary development cover
Migration from Rural to Urban Areas and Vocabulary Development
Journal Article
International Population study cover
Consequences of forced migration during early childhood on cognitive well-being in later childhood in Andhra Pradesh, India
Journal Article
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Disparities in children’s vocabulary and height in relation to household wealth and parental schooling: A longitudinal study in four low- and middle-income countries
Journal Article
The effect of early childhood stunting on children's cognitive achievements: Evidence from Young Lives Ethiopia
Journal Article
The Dynamics of Skill Formation in a Developing Country: Evidence from Ethiopia
Student paper
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Child undernutrition: opportunities beyond the first 1000 days
Journal Article

Research Countries