A Good Start - How Young Children Grow and Develop

World Vision is a child-focused organisation and is committed to working with partners for the sustained well-being of children within their families and communities, especially the most vulnerable. Children are most vulnerable during their early years. Malnutrition has a long-term impact on young children’s development, and diseases and accidents maim and claim the most lives during the early years.

Often the perception of Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the construction of preschools for 3 to 5-year-old children. ECD is much more than this. A focus on ECD ensures that children are healthy and well nourished, have bonded to their primary caregiver(s), are able to interact and communicate well with others and are ready to start school. A focus on ECD lays the foundation for successful development.

Young children spend most of their time with their families, so it is important to support those families who are their main caregivers. Strengthening families will improve the health, safety and general well-being of young children in the long term.

ECD addresses the holistic needs of young children from conception to eight years old. Care of pregnant women is important. Women who are healthy, well nourished and in supportive relationships bear healthier children, giving them a good start to life. The first two years of life are the peak period for brain growth; therefore it is vital to provide families with information about how to stimulate their children and provide physical and emotional care. Supporting caregivers (families and teachers) in nurturing the emotional, spiritual and social needs of young children throughout this period is critical.

ECD programming includes a focus on providing a safe environment for children in both preschool and the home environment. Also, appropriate learning environments at home, in the community, and in preschool provide young children with a good foundation for learning and transition to school.

This booklet has been designed to assist World Vision staff and communities as well as sponsors in supporting countries to be more aware of the needs and rights of young children. Together, we can contribute in supporting children to develop to their full potential.

Learn more about World Vision Early Childhood Development and Go Baby Go Programmes: https://www.wvi.org/maternal-newborn-and-child-health/go-baby-go