Ricochet News

Early Childhood Development workers in demand

Jan 31, 2017
Early Childhood Development workers in demand

UNICEF, the international non-profit organisation that aims to improve and protect the lives of children, last week launched a new campaign called, Early Moments Matter, highlighting the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD). The campaign seeks to increase awareness on the significance of the first 1 000 days of a child’s life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain.

UNICEF spokesperson, Georgina Thompson said during the first 1 000 days, a child’s brain cells can make up to 1 000 new connections every second, a once-in-a-lifetime speed.

“These connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness. A lack of nurturing care – which includes adequate nutrition, stimulation, love and protection from stress and violence – can impede the development of these critical connections,” said Thompson.

According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty.

Thompson said the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development however is not limited to low-income countries. “Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk,” she said.

Research also shows that quality child care helps parents work and be more productive.

According to a recent article inThe Lancet, 43% of children younger than five years of age living in low and middle-income countries are at risk of suboptimal development because of poverty and stunting. The 250 million children at risk of not reaching their developmental potential are likely to lose about a quarter of their adult income.

Companies in private and public sectors have therefore been urged to make long-term investments in ECD.  

INTEC, a distance learning college has become a popular institution for specialised courses in ECD.

The college offers a Further Education and Training Certificate in Early Childhood and Development, a Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Development and an INTEC Child Day Care Professional Certificate.

The Further Education and Training Certificate in Early Childhood and Development will help facilitate all-round development of young children in a manner that is sensitive to culture and individual needs (including special needs). It will also enable you to provide quality ECD services for children in a variety of contexts, including community-based services, ECD centres, at home and in institutions.

The Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Development has been specifically designed for those who want to be recognised as well-trained, qualified child workers. This course will give you the opportunity to enhance your knowledge, skills and competencies in the ECD field and to gain a national ECD qualification, thereby obtaining formal recognition.

The third course, the INTEC Child Day Care Professional Certificate is designed for people who want to work with babies and very young children under five years of age. The demand for suitably trained caregivers to look after young children whilst parents are at work is very high. This course enables caregivers to have the proper certification and education to properly handle children at that age.