Early childhood development (ECD) is the most critical and influential developmental stage in a child’s life and investing in it cannot be delayed. Nurturing care for young children has a profound impact on a child’s physical, socioemotional and cognitive development. In the Asia-Pacific region, more than 150 million children younger than 5 years have been affected at the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new report by UNICEF EAPRO, “Growing Steady and Strong: UNICEF Early childhood development regional guidance in East Asia and the Pacific” aims to provide a vision for action to UNICEF country offices in the region and key external stakeholders in implementing the ECD agenda as a key pillar for UNICEF in 2022-2025. The document includes context-adaptable tools and resources, as well as country examples and good practices to enhance ECD policies and programming in the region. Developed against the backdrop of COVID-19, the document aspires to outline pathways and strategies to address persistent challenges, as well as those emerging from rapidly emerging landscape – due to the global pandemic, worsening climate change, and rapid proliferation of digital technology.