The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science recently published a new Call to Action and Policy Brief about how to fill children’s potential, through Early Childhood interventions. Through their extensive research they concluded that following five actions can make the greatest difference in children’s lives:
- Integrate nutrition and child development interventions for young children and their families, wherever possible. This includes interventions that have both nutrition and health components delivered simultaneously to the families and their children, with the objective that they reinforce each other and are cost-effective.
- Focus on learning and nutrition in early childhood by promoting high-quality family care. Early in life, adequate nutrition and consistent, responsive parenting promote brain development, social-emotional competencies and school-readiness.
- Adapt interventions to address the local capacities and constraints of families and communities. The setting and location of interventions should be adaptable to meet unique local needs. A combination of home and center-based delivery models can ensure a broad reach, while still recognizing and supporting the family’s role in promoting children’s well being.
- Identify the best practices and appropriate indicators in an integrated delivery of interventions through focused research and program evaluation. A globally accepted set of measures and indicators is needed to ensure the successful evaluation of integrated interventions. An accepted set of indicators standardizes reporting procedures and allows for the comparison of effective components across locations.
- Mobilize the endorsements of leaders across intergovernmental and government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and others in civil society to bring effective interventions to scale and sustain them. Just as the science of early childhood development and nutrition requires a consensus from multiple disciplines, the support of integrated interventions must also come from a wide array of stakeholders. These partnerships allow for the alignment of priorities, the pooling of limited resources, and access to the evidence base necessary to ensure effective scale-up.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) is a major priority to us at TYO. Through our multi generational approach to learning, parents and children participate in parallel programming to promote healthy lives. We target mothers, Palestinian children’s primary caregivers, in our approach to strengthening our ECE programs, conduct parent-teacher conferences and make frequent home visits to continue follow-up. We also understand the value of mobilizing leaders in the Nablus community to take a stand in support for ECE interventions. This is a global priority and more can be done to ensure optimal growth and development of the world’s children — how will you help?