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Early Childhood Guidelines for Pacific launched today

© UNICEF Pacific

NADI, 25 September 2014 – Research shows that providing high quality care and education for children before they turn five produces significant immediate and long-term benefits. Therefore, it is very valuable to have guidelines to help governments strengthen early childhood interventions and ensure they nurture local values while also being optimal for the children’s neural development. 

This became a reality today when UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen launched The Pacific Guidelines for the Development of National Quality Frameworks for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE): Programming for Ages 3-5, in Nadi, Fiji. 

While launching the guideline, Dr. Allen said, “13 Pacific Education Ministers have endorsed this, so  availability of these Guidelines is a tangible means for carrying out the political and technical commitment for quality early childhood care and education (ECCE). The importance of investment in quality ECCE services cannot be overstated; for the amazing amount of brain development that occurs before primary school age has been underestimated or even ignored. Our youngest children have the right to be healthy, nourished and get the foundational experiences that will make them successful learners in primary school and beyond. Without this right start, it is very hard to catch up.”

As the UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake said, “The debate between nature and nurture as determinants of early childhood development is over. Today we understand that the two are inextricably linked.”

The Guidelines provide a user-friendly model with ideas and thought provoking questions. But they are not prescriptive! Instead, they are a quality framework which countries can weave teaching and learning in local languages that resonates with national culture and values. 

These Guidelines support government in providing a multi-sector approach covering health, nutrition, child protection, positive parenting and water, sanitation and hygiene in order to provide quality services for children aged 3-5 years. It will provide children with an all-inclusive package to development: language, motor, culture, social-emotional, and thinking skills. 

After an extensive process with education experts from governments, academia, development and research partners and regional donors, the guideline was drafted and finalised.

The guidelines were endorsed at the Pacific Island Education Ministers at Forum Education Ministers meeting in Cook Islands, earlier this year. Several countries including the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu are already using the Guidelines with the other countries soon to do so. 

“We expect to see increased investment by Governments and other stakeholders in ECCE, and this will pay out in bigger dividends for their children and grandchildren. These are dividends that keep on giving for years and years as children grow and learn with better developed abilities to learn, remember, think, create, and stay healthy,” said Dr. Allen.

The guidelines can be accessed here -

http://uni.cf/1rvfSte

About UNICEF: 

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: unicefpacific.org

For further information and pictures of the launch, please contact:

Donna Hoerder, Tel: +679 3236 100 dhoerder@unicef.org

 

 

 
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