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5 reasons why the world needs to invest more in early childhood development

A child’s most important steps happen before they set foot in a primary school. By their fifth birthday, their brain is 90% developed and the foundations for success at school and in later life are already in place.

As someone invested in giving children the best possible start in life, you will know what we mean by “5 for 5”: the 5 crucial elements of quality care every kid under 5 needs to build these foundations for success - learning, play, healthcare, nutrition and protection.

Around the world governments aren’t investing enough in ECD, which means under-5s are often denied these 5 vital elements, particularly in the world’s poorest countries. There’s often little or no investment until they’ve reached school age, which results in millions of children missing out on the crucial early care and stimulation they need.

That’s why we need your help to change things for 0-5-year-olds and campaign together to put pressure on world leaders to increase their commitment to pre-primary education and early childhood care.

Here’s 5 reasons why things need to change:

  1. Supporting early learning is a sound investment: children who receive pre-primary education are more likely to stay in school later in life;
  2. Thinking globally, every dollar invested in early childhood care and education for the world’s most disadvantaged children can bring a return of as much as $17 for their country when those children are grown.
  3. 85% of children in low-income countries - those nations with the least amount of gross national income per member of their population - do NOT have access to pre-primary education compared with 82% of children in high-income countries WHO DO.
  4. If things keep going the way they are now, 69% of school-aged children in low-income countries are not expected to learn basic primary-level skills by 2030.
  5. Nearly all low-income countries and donors that provide aid to these countries dedicate less than 5% of their education budgets to pre-primary education, when the target should be 10%.

We have a chance to do something about this: this month world leaders are meeting in Germany at the G20 Summit to agree their priorities and what they should fund. We are calling on them to prioritise the early years, especially pre-primary education and especially for the poorest and most marginalised children. They are busy and we need to get this in front of them, which is why comedians around the world, like Matt Lucas, are acting like big kids in a series of films to support Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign at this crucial time.

Short of donning a onesie yourself, here’s what you can do to help:

  • Watch and share our #5for5 videos featuring comedians from around the world who support the need for more investment in ECD;
  • Join the #5for5 movement to keep up to date with the campaign and discover more ways to stand up for those who haven’t even mastered standing;
  • Sign our petition calling for a new way to finance pre-primary education, which we will deliver to world leaders at the G20.

We’d love to hear your experiences, so share your stories about why ECD matters and why you want to see more support for it around the world by using the #5for5 tag and help us convince world leaders that things have to change.

(Credit: Geoff Crawford/Theirworld)

About Theirworld

Through research, pilot projects and campaigning, children’s charity Theirworld is at the forefront of testing and shaping new ideas to help give children in the United Kingdom and around the world the best possible start in life.

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