Grenada Takes Lead in Integrated Early Childhood Development with UNICEF Consultation – UNICEF

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Officials from various government ministries, non-governmental organisations, academics, law enforcement, parents and teachers recently gathered at the Spice Island Beach Resort to discuss a new integrated approach to early childhood development (ECD).  

The integrated ECD model pursues a coordinated approach to address the physical, social, emotional, cognitive thinking and language progression of each young individual.  

“As UNICEF, we believe we can no longer look at child development in silos,” said UNICEF ECD Specialist Shelly-Ann Harper.

“We really recognise that a child who is going to do well in life needs to be living in safe environments, not suffering from stress or being exposed to high levels of violence and trauma,” she added.  

UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office (LACRO) Early Childhood Development Manager Yannig Dussart set the stage for the consultations by providing an overview of the state of ECD regionally and globally, with an emphasis on UNICEF’s nurturing care framework. This framework highlights the importance of five key areas for optimal child development: good health, adequate nutrition, responsive caregiving, opportunities for learning and play, and protection from harm. 

Following Dussart’s presentation, Harper delivered a diagnostic review of the status of ECD in Grenada. This review served as a springboard for participants to engage in breakout group discussions on critical issues like addressing the needs of young children with disabilities, the removal of children from the home, and supporting children living in severe poverty.  

Chief Social Development Officer at the Ministry of Social Development Delroy Date, expressed his conviction that “many of the children who are often left behind and are at risk would also be captured and have a better future because of this initiative.” 

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