Integrated Early Childhood Development

Child Survival and Development


Early Childhood Development

Early childhood development is a recently introduced concept in Iran.

Early child stimulation and mental, cognitive and emotional development have only recently been introduced in Iran and are not currently included in routine primary health care services. Pre-school services are generally only available in urban areas and most are privately funded. This need has now been recognized, and the Ministry of Education is preparing to launch compulsory pre-school education for children aged 5-6 years.

Fewer than 10% of children in Iran have access to integrated early childhood development. Of about 60,000 villages in the country, only 1,400 have rural welfare services. Those that exist are often of poor quality. There is a need for more information, technical capacity and experience in this area.

UNICEF also supported the establishment of community-based Rural Child Care Centres (RCCCs) in the most deprived provinces of the country. After 42 pilot centres were opened, the Government supported the expansion of the project and around 3,600 locally-managed centres have now been established.

Communities are mobilized to monitor and promote improved nutrition, birth registration and early childhood development. Information and communication materials are designed around an integrated set of messages, aimed directly at parents. The capacities of leaders at community, district, provincial and national levels to plan and deliver services are being enhanced. 

UNICEF also continues to advocate for the development and adoption of a national policy on Integrated Early Childhood Development. Developing comprehensive and inclusive replicable models at local levels and identifying and documenting best practices play a central role in this.



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