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National Early Childhood Development Team meeting lays foundation for updated action plan

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Jul 12,2023 - Last updated at Jul 12,2023

Stakeholders during second day of the technical meeting for the National Early Childhood Development Team at the Dead Sea on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of NCFA)

DEAD SEA — Investing in early childhood development can generate invaluable personal, social and economic returns, said Director of the Childhood Directorate at the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA), Mai Sultan on Wednesday during the second day of the technical meeting for the National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Team.  

The National ECD Team was formed in 2018 based on a partnership agreement between the NCFA and Plan International Jordan (PIJ). 

In an interview with The Jordan Times, Sultan noted that the formative years of childhood development, which continue until the age of eight, are “critical” for emotional, behavioural, cognitive and physical development. 

“Early childhood is marked by rapid brain development. Both positive and negative interventions during this period can have strong and long-lasting impacts that continue throughout adulthood,” she added. 

Sultan also referenced a 2017 study by Queen Rania Foundation, titled “Economic Implications of Investing in Early Childhood Care and Education in Jordan”. 

“Based on local data, the study estimates that providing children with continuous access to early childhood care and education (ECCE) between ages of three and five will increase average educational attainment by 0.7 years, increase life-time earnings by $23,113 and increase average life expectancy by approximately one year,” she said. 

During the meeting, Tamara Al Zubi, a senior childhood specialist at the NCFA, gave a presentation on the team’s action plan for 2022, and overviewed the objectives and outcomes achieved since the team’s founding. 

The meeting also involved team-building activities that allowed the National ECD Team members to get to know each other through reflections on childhood experiences. 

Members worked in groups to identify shortcomings and areas of improvement. They also came up with recommendations to enhance the team’s work mechanisms and laid the foundation for a new action plan for early childhood development. Discussed areas included membership requirements, tasks, partnerships and subcommittees. 

Sultan said that updating the action plan for the National ECD Team will be preceded by collecting and analysing relevant indicators, which will be used to prepare a report on the status of ECD in Jordan. 

Aside from the five fundamental pillars related to education, protection, welfare, healthcare and nutrition, the plan will address novel ECD intervention areas, such as entrepreneurship and climate change, to arrive at a “comprehensive” roadmap, she added. 

 

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