Early childhood development (ECD)
For every child, early moments matter
We now understand that the period from pregnancy to age 3 is the most critical, when the brain grows faster than at any other time; 80% of a baby's brain is formed by this age. For healthy brain development in these years, children need a safe, secure and loving environment, with the right nutrition and stimulation from their parents or caregivers. This is a window of opportunity to lay a foundation of health and wellbeing whose benefits last a lifetime - and carry into the next generation.
Often, the most disadvantaged children are least likely to have access to the essential ingredients for healthy development. Conflict and uncertainty also play a role as children younger than five in conflict-affected areas and fragile states face elevated risks to their lives, health and wellbeing.
Quality early childhood development is vital for the achievement of child rights with equity and the achievement of national development goals in the long run.
UNICEF’s global Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey methodology influenced Turkey Demographic and Health Survey to measure indicators on early childhood development (ECD). This will generate new data on the health and development of 0-5 year-old children that can inform new early childhood development policies, an increasing priority in Turkey.
UNICEF and its partners are investing in early childhood development as a priority.
Detection of disabilities
The timely detection of disabilities among children, and consequent early intervention, would remove a critical barrier to the realization of the rights of children with disabilities. UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health (MoH) to prepare the regulation on the ‘Children’s Special Need’s Report’ (GÖZGER) to be implemented in public hospitals nationwide.
Parents need time and support to create a loving and safe environment to give their babies the ‘eat, play and love’ they need, and to help build their babies’ brains.
UNICEF in Turkey support the Turkish government to prepare a national ECD Policy Paper.