Children caught up in conflicts or crises may spend years of their early life and childhood displaced from their homes. Quality early childhood development services can help to ensure all children have an equal chance to reach their full potential.
Children caught up in conflicts or crises may spend years of their early life displaced from their homes.
This briefing by Theirworld explains that the average length of displacement for refugees is 17 years so children cannot wait for an end to violence or displacement for their learning and development to begin.
The youngest children are particularly vulnerable in crisis situations. They are at risk of physical harm, as well as psychological trauma. They lose crucial opportunities for social, emotional, and cognitive development and their parents may struggle to help due to their own traumas and anxiety.
For young children living in conflict and protracted crisis situations, early childhood development can be a life-saving intervention. Quality services and programmes help to ensure all children have an equal chance to reach their full potential.
An early childhood development centre can provide:
- Physical protection - a safe place where families can leave young children during the day. Children can also receive healthcare, immunisation and nutrition, and get a safe place to play and learn.
- Psychological and emotional support - a safe space for children to examine and come to terms with their experiences and work through their trauma.
- Cognitive stimulation, play and early learning experiences - this helps young children develop essential cognitive and social skills and prepares them for primary school, including foreign language skills for refugee children in a host nation.
- Peace-building and reconciliation - this could be between groups in a conflict or integration of refugees with a host community. Promoting acceptance and inclusion amongst the children and throughout the programmes can help diminish prejudice and marginalisation between groups, contributing to a more cohesive and inclusive society over time.
Theirworld Briefing - Early Childhood Development In Conflict And Protracted Crisis (June 2016)