Early Childhood


© UNICEF/HQ93-1359/LeMoyne

What happens – or doesn’t happen – to children in the earliest years of their lives is of critical importance, both to their immediate well-being and to their future.

If you received the best start in your earliest years of life, you are more likely to have grown healthily, developed language and learning capacities, gone to school and led a productive, rewarding life. Yet millions of children around the world are still being denied the right to reach their full potential.

Every child must be ensured the best start in life – their future, and indeed the future of their communities, nations and the whole world depends on it.

Every year, tens of millions of infants around the world begin an extraordinary sprint – from defenceless newborns to becoming proactive young children ready for school. And every year, countless numbers of them are stopped in their tracks – deprived, in one way or another, of the love, care, nurturing, health, nutrition and protection that they need to survive, grow and develop. Nearly 10 million children die before their fifth birthday each year and over 200 million children are not developing to their full potential – solely because they and their caregivers lack the basic conditions needed for young children to survive and thrive.




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