A better start for children in Tonga

World Bank, Jan 05, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Account of a World Bank effort to support community play-based activities programs in Tonga. The fact that it's Tonga makes it interesting, because there isn't a lot of news from Tonga. But more significantly, it highlights the importance of early childhood development with respect to longer term learning outcomes. Nutrition, as always, is key. But also, "From birth to age 5, young children develop the foundations for language, thought and learning processes, as well as movement and coordination. They also gain important social and emotional skills by interacting with adults and other children in non-familiar settings." It's part of the the Pacific Early Age Readiness and Learning (PEARL) Program. Related: poverty shrinks brains of children; "they suspect that environmental exposures such as stress and nutrition are more important and begin even before the babies are born."

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