Early care and education give youngsters and nations a head start: Play-based learning reaps benefits

Early care and education give youngsters and nations a head start: Play-based learning reaps benefits

Significant brain development occurs during early childhood, particularly during the first three years of life, and 75 percent of brain development takes place during the first six

years of life. That is why early childhood represents a window of opportunity for the lifetime development of a child. Quality early-childhood care and education (ECCE) enhances the health, social and cognitive development of youngsters. It also promotes equity and inclusion because ECCE helps children from poor families, or in disadvantaged situations, to start primary education on an equal footing with children of more-affluent families.

James Heckman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, found that nurturing, learning experiences and physical health in early childhood greatly impacted on a person's success or failure in society, and that it is more beneficial and cost-effective to prevent health, social and learning problems through quality ECCE than to tackle such problems through remedial measures later on.

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