A Good Start = a Bright Future!
Early childhood development and the importance of the First 1000 Days, from conception to age 2, are on everyone’s agenda! Governments around the world (including the South African government) are responding to what research proves about the importance of giving babies the best start in life to enable them to succeed in life. If every child is able to achieve his or her potential, imagine what that would do for our economy and our nation! It IS possible if we know how – and it all starts with you, the parent!

You see, early childhood development begins at home. In fact, it begins before birth! It starts from the moment of conception – that magical moment when dad’s sperm meets mum’s egg! Early childhood development, or ECD as it’s commonly known, is the period from conception to age 9 and covers the child’s holistic development – physical, social, emotional and intellectual or brain development.

As a parent, you will have dreams for your little one. You want him or her to be healthy, happy, socially well-adjusted, keen and able to learn. You want your little one to do well at school, go on to tertiary education such as college or university and end up getting a good job with a good salary. The magic is – it starts with you! As mum or dad, you have the power in your hands to set your child up for success in life by giving him or her the best possible start. And it doesn’t have to cost you lots of money. The power lies in 3 key actions – LOVE, PLAY, TALK! Research shows that children who have a really good start in life do achieve much more in their lives and go on to earn 25% or more than children who get a poor start.

Your child’s potential is determined not only by the genes he or she inherits from you but most importantly by an environment that will support his or her holistic development. This environment includes love and care in a supportive family, good nutrition, good health care, a safe, hygienic and protective environment AND the language and play that will stimulate good brain development. In other words – you need to provide food for the brain as well as food for the body! With a little thought and effort, you can provide everything for your little one and you have the support of government services such as health care provided by Department of Health.

Many of the challenges we face as South Africa today have their roots in poor early childhood development. Health problems such as mental illness, chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even obesity, can be traced back to early childhood. So can problems like poor literacy and numeracy, school failure rates, low or poor quality matric results and unemployment. If we could provide ALL our little ones with a good start in life, we could change this picture and develop into a successful nation. And you have an important role to play! The power lies in your hands to provide your child with the best start through your LOVE, PLAY, TALK!

LOVE, PLAY TALK
Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Valley FM aired EVERY Tuesday from 10 to 10.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Valley FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. You, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the Valley FM website www.valleyfm.co.za or the Ilifa Labantwana website www.ilifalabantwana.co.za . Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!

PAM PICKEN
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

TECHNOLOGY MEETS ECD!
FCW [Foundation for Community Work] sponsored by RCL FOODS, facilitates the Wordworks ‘Every Word Counts’ early literacy and numeracy programme through monthly workshops for ECD teachers and home visitors at APD in Worcester. With support from the Western Cape Department of Social Development, Innovation Edge and the REACH Foundation, Wordworks has created the CareUp App for mobile phones that will provide ECD teachers and parents with ideas to create exciting learning opportunities for young children through a daily cell phone messaging service. The CareUp App shares lots of fun ideas to build young children’s brains through play. This App will be loaded onto teachers’ phones at the Worcester ECD Forum workshop at the end of July.

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