presented at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Regional ECD Conference Beijing, China
Early childhood, which is oftentimes categorized as the age of 0 to 5 years old, is a critical stage because it serves as the foundation of life of a person when intelligence, personality and social behavior are formed (Nishat & Batool, 2011). This is the stage when the physical, social and psychological capacities should be recognized and supported otherwise they will have communication, learning and development problems (Nishat & Batool, 2011). It is also the stage in life where humans are most vulnerable to conditions such as malnutrition, illnesses, neglect, violence and lack of early childhood stimulation can have a detrimental effect on both their immediate situation and their abilities to succeed later in life (Marsh & Schroeder, 2002). Infants and young children therefore should be provided with the enabling environment for them to thrive well and grow into healthy adults (Piraska & Bullen, 2011). Unfortunately, various gaps and barriers towards healthy development of these young children still exist and this is manifested in several ways among young children (Piraska & Bullen, 2011).