Helping children grow and thrive

What are some ways to help a young child develop well?

The first eight years of a child’s life are fundamentally important. They shape children’s future health, growth, development and learning achievement at school, in the family and community, and in life in general.

Recent research confirms that the first eight years are particularly important for the development of the child’s brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child’s brain architecture.

What are some ways to help a young child develop well?

  1. The early years are very important for brain development. Everything a child senses helps to shape the brain for thinking, feeling, moving and learning.

  2. Babies learn rapidly from the moment they are born. They grow and learn best when responsive, caring parents and caregivers give them affection, attention and stimulation as well as good nutrition, proper health care and protection.

  3. Encouraging children to play and explore helps them develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Exploration also helps children get ready for school.

  4. Children learn how to behave (socially and emotionally) by imitating the behaviour of those closest to them.

  5. Starting school on time is critical to the continuity of a child’s development. Support from parents, caregivers, teachers and the community is very important.

  6. Children grow and develop in similar patterns, but each child develops at her or his own pace. Every child has her or his own interests, temperament, style of social interaction and approach to learning.

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