Stewardship for sustainability and the equitable distribution of resources are social justice imperatives in our world marked by economic, environmental and geopolitical instability in the 21st century. Weak global growth and uncertainty are forwarding policy challenges, particularly growth enhancing policies and structural reform for developing countries. Global poverty is an urgent concern, particularly as the world’s youngest citizens face the collateral effects of global structural and economic policies and reform both now and in the future. Of primary importance are social, fiscal and educational policies and the enactment of an ethic of care and concern to improve opportunities for the poor and working poor.
Increasingly, the role of early care and education is recognized as an important human capital investment strategy and social sustainability factor. Economic policies grounded in investing in children’s optimal growth, development and well-being will have lasting health-care, social, academic and economic impacts. Early care and education can enhance cognitive and social development by actualizing protective and promotive effects for children. Furthermore, early intervention policies can ameliorate the negative effects and disadvantages of poverty, provide equal access to early care and education and mitigate dysfunctional educational trajectories for children in poverty, thus equalizing achievement and enhancing their overall quality of life (Duncan et al, 2010; Duncan and Magnuson, 2011; Ayoub et al., 2009). Furthermore, according to the American economist, James Heckman, every dollar invested into early care and education yields approximately eight in return.
International development ventures targeting the revitalization of poverty-stricken communities require a holistic approach encompassing private/public partnerships to actualize social and human capital investment through early care and education, workforce development strategies leveraging a range of apprenticeship programs, vocational training and education, as well as to maintain socio-cultural cohesion. Early care and education can underpin developing countries’ economic sustainability forwarding parents’ workforce participation and increasing earnings, in addition to supporting the development of a more educated workforce. Early care and education, thus, acts as one fragment of the mosaic of solutions in the international social and economic development efforts, capital investment and governmental policies supporting stronger local communities in a global world.
Below video link provides a poignant reminder of the impact and ROI of early childhood development and social bonds. So proud to work both locally and internationally in this field. I encourage you to watch the video put out by Forbes!
Ayoub, C. et al. (2009). Cognitive skill performance among young children living in
poverty: Risk, change and promotive effects of Early Head Start. Early Childhood
Research Quarterly, 24, p. 289-305.
Duncan, G., Kalil, A., Ziol-Guest, K. (2010). Early-childhood poverty and adult
attainment, behavior, and health. Child Development, 81 (1), p. 306–325.
Duncan, G. & Magnuson, K. (2011). The nature and impact of early achievement
skills, attention skills, and behavior problems. In Duncan, G. and Murnane, R. (Eds.).
Whither opportunity? Rising inequality, schools, and children’s life chances (p. 47-69).
NY: Russell Sage Foundation.