Did you know that the early years of a child’s life is the most vital for future success?

You could think that because a child cannot remember a lot of their early years, that the input into their development may not be as vital as in their school years. It could also be thought that as children below 5 years do not attend school they are not so quick to learn. Well actually 5 years and below is where most of development happened.

Just think about it, within the first month of being born, a baby not only physically grow significantly but they also develop their hearing and their vision goes from being very fuzzy to more focused allowing them to start to mirror the actions and noises they can see and hear around.

That is some significant development changes within just one month! I am not sure any of us as adults would be able tick such big learning goals off our to do list within one month!

Having recently read the World Bank Report 2018 it is evident that to have the most significant long-term impact, the early years is the time to focus on. In terms of time and effort put into the development of a child, this is the time where the largest return on investment (ROI) can be made.

I dislike putting it this way, as it turns a child into a financial gain, which is not the point. However, for the development of a country it is important to have an educated population, allowing people to have the tools to achieve their aspirations. By giving a child, the best starts you are enabling them opportunities to succeed in their own areas of interest, which in turn results in financial gain for the individual as well as the whole country.

In the World Bank report, it was found that even if a Child A starts school later than Child B and stays in school longer than Child B. Child B is still more likely to have gained more developmental and educational benefit than Child A. This is because Child B’s education took place when they were younger and therefore their brain was more malleable and able to learn and take in the new information.

All this information is interesting and important for East African Playgrounds to take note of. Much of our work in the early days took place within Primary Schools. However, as the research grows and the realisation of the importance of early years becomes more significant, so develops our focus. In Uganda there is a huge push by the government and interested NGO’s to build on the infrastructure for early childhood development.

Although our playground programme is well tailored to the early years develop, we are considering new programmes to aid the development of the early years. I am working on developing a programme that support early childhood development within the home through play. The development or new and alteration of current programmes is such an important part of running a charity as it means you are consistently aware of the changing needs to ensure we are having the most significant impact in the most effective manner. We will keep you posted on how the new programme comes on.