Early childhood, or a child’s formative years (ages 0 to 8), is crucial to a person’s holistic growth, particularly in their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. These
Early childhood, or a child’s formative years (ages 0 to 8), is crucial to a person’s holistic growth, particularly in their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. These early years in a child’s life contribute to their ability to learn and pose significant impact in their adult life. It is also during these years when a child is greatly influenced by their environment and the people around them.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the importance of early childhood development (ECD) to improve the well-being of children worldwide, ultimately improving their capacity to learn and develop. UNICEF has identified three vital areas indicative of the quality of ECD: quality of care, access to early childhood care and education, and overall developmental status of the children.
In pursuit of nation building and equity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) reflects the importance of early childhood care and education as it sets forth the ambition to provide all children with “access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education” by the year 2030. Different countries in the Southeast Asian Region already have national policies and legal frameworks in place to ensure that elements of inclusive education are present.
However, the issue of achieving inclusivity in education, particularly in early childhood care and development (ECCD), is a complex challenge. It requires addressing various issues surrounding and affecting access to and quality of ECCD programs. And addressing these challenges need cooperation of various stakeholders—from government offices, non-government organization, and private sector, down to the families and communities.
Barriers to ECCD programs are further heightened by the disruption in education experienced due to the global pandemic. More than 150 million children below 5 years old have been affected as schools close in East Asia and the Pacific. Along with the health risk, the pandemic also threatened children’s opportunity to grow and learn with their peers. This also puts great pressure on teachers who need to continuously provide early learning programs amid the imposed distance learning. Likewise, families and parents were put in the spotlight as they take on a bigger role in their child’s learning.
To support young learners, teachers and parents alike need to exert extra effort to ensure that learning continues. Both teachers and parents need to be capacitated with skills that could facilitate learning in the most effective way during the pandemic and beyond.
In order to help address the education needs of the region, SEAMEO INNOTECH conducts online learning events focused on specific education concerns. Through its Knowledge Management and Networking Office, SEAMEO INNOTECH will organize a webinar focused on ECCD this 17 May 2022, at 2 pm (GMT+8). This webinar will emphasize the importance of ECCD and will provide a space for teachers and parents to learn together as they work together for the continuous learning of young children.
 “Early childhood care and education,” UNESCO, https://en.unesco.org/themes/early-childhood-care-and-education
 “Young Children and the Pandemic,” UNICEF, https://www.unicef.org/eap/reports/young-children-and-pandemic
Watch the replay of the webinar here
(Tuesday) 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm GMT+8