Programmes 2006–2010: Early Childhood Care and Learning

The Health of Young Children

A one–year–old boy is vaccinated at a health centre

Vaccination against the major childhood diseases within the first twelve months is essential to ensure the well being of every child.
Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2006


The Health of Young Children focuses on improving the health of young children within the framework of Turkey’s new health reforms.

Results achieved so far

  • Eighty–five percent of under–five–year–olds are routinely immunised against the major childhood diseases.
  • Fifty–five out of Turkey’s eighty–one provinces have been certified Baby Friendly under the Baby–friendly Hospitals Initiative (BFHI).
  • Eighty–seven per cent of hospital deliveries are attended by skilled personnel in Baby Friendly Hospitals.
  • One hundred and twenty–two Mothers Support Groups have been established in 22 provinces to encourage exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months, thereby promoting the improved cognitive development of young children.

Project Partners

The Ministry of Health (MOH), non–governmental organisations (NGOs), The World Health Organization (WHO), EU, the private sector and media.

Young Child Development and Effective Parenting

Pre–school children at play

Eighty percent of brain development is complete by the age of six, which is why pre–school educated children consistently perform well at all higher levels of education. Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2006


Young Child Development and Effective Parenting focuses on the development of young children through the provision of preschool education and the promotion of effective parenting. The project aims to have a pre–school completion rate of 30% for children in urban areas by 2010.

Results achieved so far

  • My Family, a gender sensitive and user–friendly parenting education and training programme aiming to increase the knowledge, skills and attitudes of parents with children under six years of age has been established nationwide.
  • Government reports show that over 100,000 parents and care givers, including many from socially excluded groups, have completed the programme.
  • Twenty–five per cent of children between 5 and 6 years of age are now attending pre–school classes — a marked increase from the baseline of 15.6 per cent in 2003.
  • Learning achievement of pre–school children is expected to increase following revision of the Pre–school Education Curriculum.
  • The Ministry of National Education (MONE) has drafted a sector policy on Early Childhood Education.
  • The Government has launched a nationwide Early Childhood Development Communication Behaviour and Social Change strategy.

Project Partners

MONE, MOH, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK), councils, NGOs, local media, universities and the private sector.


While Committee on the Rights of Children has been reviewing the reports of member states, it observed that in many cases, very little information has been offered about early childhood, with comments limited mainly to child mortality, birth registration and health care. The Committee felt the need for a discussion on the broader implications of the Convention on the Rights of the Child for young children. Accordingly, in 2004, the Committee devoted its day of general discussion to the theme “Implementing child rights in early childhood”. This resulted in a set of recommendations as well as the decision to prepare General Comment No. 7 Implementing Child Rights In Early Childhood on this important topic. Through this general comment, the Committee wishes to encourage recognition that young children are holders of all rights enshrined in the convention and that early childhood is a critical period for the realization of these rights. The Committee’s working definition of “early childhood” is all young children: at birth and throughout infancy; during the preschool years; as well as during the transition to school.

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