The efficient design and delivery of early childhood policies and services are critical to ensuring long-term learning opportunities and improved learning, behaviour, employment, and health outcomes amongst individuals. Research in neuroscience, developmental psychology and cognitive science has revealed that quality early childhood education, supportive communities and a positive family environment serve as important building blocks to promote healthy development amongst infants and toddlers.
The World Health Organization identified the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and by February 2021, two-thirds of LMICs were reported to have reduced their public education budgets (Education Finance Watch Report, 2021). Although many challenges to achieving full access to quality early childhood services existed before the pandemic, this finding dramatically reveals how the pandemic threatens to erode hard won gains already achieved for children and families, and could continue to have exceedingly negative impacts on child development, early learning, family well-being and all types of early childhood services.
The Global Partnership Strategy (GPS) for Early Childhood was created to counter this negative trend in education and to overcome the reduction and closure of services for health, nutrition, sanitation, and child protection in all world regions. Well designed and implemented policies and services for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) enable all countries to protect and guarantee child rights, achieve high rates of return on their investments in child and family development and widen avenues for transforming societies and lives.