Comment from Margaret Chan, Director General, WHO, published this past weekend in The Lancet. Dr. Chan discusses how helping children to thrive is complementary to ensuring they survive. She highlights the three critical foundations for healthy child development stable, responsive, and nurturing care giving with opportunities to learn; safe, supportive, physical environments; and appropriate nutrition; she emphasizes, that the first 3 years of a child's life are a time when a child has the greatest plasticity for growth and development, even under adverse circumstances and that the health sector therefore has a unique responsibility, because it has the greatest reach to children and their families during pregnancy, birth, and early childhood. She concludes by calling on world leaders who are preparing the post-2015 development agenda, to recognise that investment in early child development is essential, not only for good health but also for sustainable development.
April 10, 2013 Call for Papers:
The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS is sponsoring a special issue of AIDS, the official journal of the International AIDS Society, on the theme of Children Born into Families Affected by HIV for release at the 20th International AIDS Conference from 20-25 July 2014 in Melbourne - see attached for more details.
"Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But here’s the thing: We are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance. The kids we saw today that I had a chance to spend time with in Mary's classroom, they're some of the lucky ones -- because fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.
Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for the poor children who need it the most, the lack of access to a great preschool education can have an impact on their entire lives. And we all pay a price for that. And as I said, this is not speculation. Study after study shows the achievement gap starts off very young.
And so I was working with them to build towers and replicate sculptures and sing songs. Through this interactive learning, they’re learning math, writing, how to tell stories. And one of the things tin Decatur that’s wonderful also is, is that you’ve combined kids from different income levels; you’ve got disabled kids all in the same classroom, so we’re all learning together. And what that means is, is that all the kids are being leveled up, and you’re not seeing some of that same stratification that you see that eventually leads to these massive achievement gaps. And that’s why I propose working with states like Georgia to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every child."
February 6, 2013 15 billion and nothing to show Seven years ago today, Stephen Harper's first act as Prime Minister-just three hours after taking office-was to cut Canada's first national child care program. This program would have created more high quality regulated child care, made child care more affordable for families across the country and been a first step to a real system.
Prime Minster Harper replaced the program with the Universal Child Care Benefit, a $100 /month cheque for children under age 6. Since then, $15b has been spent on the UCCB while families across Canada struggle to find affordable high quality child care. Strong evidence about the benefits of quality early childhood education and care is being ignored. Meanwhile, many families make-do with unregulated care while for-profit child care-usually poorer quality than non-profit-is growing rapidly. Early childhood research, organizations and other infrastructure has been defunded and the disparities in early childhood provision for families in different regions continue to grow.
Canada again has been rebuked internationally for human rights failures on child care. A 2012 UN Committee noted the "high cost of child-care, lack of available places, the absence of uniform training requirements for all child-care staff and of standards of quality care ... despite the State party's significant resources". The Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada calls on all Members of the House of Commons-Opposition Parties and the Government of Canada-to act now to ensure that public funds are directed towards the services that children and families need. Read more
How can countries seize the opportunities and minimize the risks posed by the rapid change that is reshaping societies and economies worldwide? The answer will increasingly depend on their ability to provide their people with the skills they need to respond to such change. The challenge of building the necessary education systems is particularly daunting for low-income Sub-Saharan African countries. What should be their top priorities over the next decade to achieve this?
Obviously, Africa must develop secondary and higher education to produce the skills needed to compete in the global knowledge-based economy. But this has to be coupled with continued high priority to achieving good quality basic education for all. This is the foundation for post-basic education, shared economic growth and increased productivity of those engaged in the farming and non-farming informal sectors – the overwhelming majority of Africa’s labour force (around 90%).
Therefore, governments must make budget trade-offs in favour of population groups who missed out on basic education, by giving high priority to the following areas over the next decade: 1. Invest in ALL young children: The best long-term investment most African countries can make is early childhood care and education. Not only do Africa’s child health and education indicators lag behind those of other developing regions, the gap is increasing:
Child mortality: In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa’s under-5 mortality rate (121 per 1,000) was double that of South Asia and six times that of East Asia and Latin America. In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 49% of the children worldwide dying before the age of 5, up from 19% in 1970.
Malnutrition: Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the number of children who are stunted (short for their age) increased between 1990 and 2010 (from 38 to 55 million).
Pre-primary education: In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross enrolment ratio was 17% against 48% in South Asia, 57% in East Asia and 70% in Latin America.
Malnutrition and a lack of pre-school education seriously undermine children’s life chances, including their education. Read more
Professor Patrice L. Engle
1 December, 1944 - 22 September, 2012
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded. " - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Patrice was a longtime member and supporter of the Consultative Group and chaired the Executive Board in 2011 until she stepped down in early 2012. Professor of Psychology and Child Development at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California since 1980, she was Associate Chair of the Psychology and Child Development Department and on the Women and Gender Studies’ Advisory Board. She taught research methods, theories of development, cross-cultural psychology, and the global women’s studies course. She spent 7 years as Senior Advisor for Early Childhood Development in UNICEF, both in India and New York, a year working for WHO in Geneva and a year at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC, and 5 years in Guatemala. Her research, policy, and practice was in the linkages of nutrition, child development, and women’s status in developing countries. She studied family care practices and responsive feeding, women’s empowerment and women’s work, the role of fathers, the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and the effect of these on children’s growth and development. She published a number of papers on the relationships of care practices, nutrition and child development. She received grants from the Global Alliance in Nutrition, UNICEF Geneva, and USAID, and consulted for WHO, the World Bank, UNICEF in Central Asia, Inter-American Development Bank, PATH, and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and spearheaded a series of articles on Early Child Development published in Lancet in 2007 and 2011. See Pat on youtube discussing the importance of early childhood
A fellowship is being established by friends and colleagues. Donations may be sent to The Patrice Engle Fund at the Society for Research in Child Development to support dissertation fellowships related to global child development in low and middle-income countries. Please send chequess to: SRCD-Patrice Engle Fund, 2950 S. State Street, Suite 40, Ann Arbor MI 48104. For electronic/wire transfers or credit card contributions, contact Rburd@SRCD.ORG. Details of the fellowship procedures to follow - this will be handled by an independent committee of Pat’s colleagues and friends
The Lancet Journal Series on Early Childhood Development: Research reveals potentially substantial benefits of investing in early childhood development
New research re-affirms and provides additional evidence that increasing investment in early childhood development programmes is a highly cost-effective strategy that could provide considerable returns, with the potential to promote long-term growth and significantly reduce inequalities in low and middle income countries.
July 14, 2010 UNAIDS OUTLOOK A new report outlines a radically simplified HIV treatment platform called Treatment 2.0 that could decrease the number of AIDS-related deaths drastically and could also greatly reduce the number of new HIV infections; nearly 30 years into the AIDS epidemic, region by region, countries continue to rank AIDS high on the list of the most important issues facing the world; and an economic analysis makes the case for making health a necessity, not a luxury, outlining the critical need for donor countries to sustain AIDS investments and calling on richer developing countries to invest more in HIV and health.
Toronto, June 4, 2010 Getting Set For Life: A radio interview with Dr. Fraser Mustard on the importance of investing in children birth to 6 years of age http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/ Part 2 (starts at 8:18)
Jacmel, Haiti, April 6, 2010 Support for young children and families in Haiti Games and toys ease transition to normalcy
UNICEF's Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits, launched worldwide last summer, help to meet the needs of children under the age of six in emergency or post-crisis environments resulting from natural disasters and armed conflicts. UNICEF's ECD and Emergencies specialist, Arnaud Conchon on the ground in Haiti. Read more... | See video