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Early Childhood Care and Development

The first six years of a child’s life is a time of great promise and rapid change, when their developing brain is most open to the influence of relationships and experiences. However, millions of children across the world are at risk of not reaching their full potential because they do not get the care and stimulation they need in the early stages of life.

To achieve the SDGs and ensure that all girls and boys, especially the most deprived, are developmentally on-track we need to start early. Save the Children works with families and communities to help children to develop foundational learning skills in the years leading up to school. Save the Children also works with communities and partners to advocate for policies and practices that recognise the value of starting early and investing in cost-effective, inclusive quality approaches to ECCD.

Our goal is that all children will access quality inclusive early childhood care and demonstrate improved child development outcomes.

Save the Children’s experience shows that to reach the most vulnerable children, we need to go beyond preschools. High quality caregiving must be supported both in homes and in early learning centres to build strong foundations for young girls and boys. Moreover, rural, linguistic minority and refugee children need urgent support as they are falling behind. Save the Children works to address these gaps through targeted interventions, such as early learning programmes that support children’s learning at home in emergency and post-disaster settings, among remote and nomadic communities, and in areas where preschools are not available or accessible. 

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Photo: Jack Taylor/Save the Children

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