Hardly a day goes by without a headline in our news media about the social and emotional development of our youngest children. Strictly speaking, the articles might not say that’s what they’re about, but they are nonetheless. If it’s a story about crime trends, education, or even economic development, it’s also a story about early social-emotional development.
What exactly is social and emotional development? It’s the change over time in the way children react to and interact with their social environments. A child is not born with the ability to identify his emotions, control his impulses, or understand his place in the social world. These fundamental social and emotional skills are learnt through experience.
Knowing the rapid growth of brain is between birth and age 3, its important to know that early experiences can have long-term consequences in a child’s life. Infants and toddlers need nurturing parenting and stable environments that provide safety and security and support learning and exploration. Without them, a child is unlikely to reach his or her potential.
|Pupils presenting to their parents during school open day at St. John's Bukangara|
Due to community, children develop a strong social-emotional foundation that in turn improves their social economic competitiveness. This is because the social and emotional skills that children begin learning in infancy are strongly related to later outcomes like readiness to attend school (Like my daughter Daniella Asinja finds herself home alone and thus the urge of joining her elder sister (Isabella) to school). Even at a later stage this affects their attendance and later adult earnings.
Mr.Peter Kabwana, the LC III of Nyakiyumbu sub county in one of the stakeholders meeting said that, “Early childhood intervention…is the deciding factor between being a successful community in the future or simply maintaining the status quo or more of the same.” Committee recommendations included sub county taking a leading role in strengthening families through the SOVC (Sub county Orphans and Vulnerable Children committee) that are supposed to make home to home visits discussing parenting, advocating for a friendly school environment to attract children to and stay in schools and advocating for redress of all issues affecting children.
The benefits of this concerned attention to early childhood will be seen in lower rates of student drop out, reduced crime rates among our adolescents and youth, higher graduation rates, better educated and equipped workforce, and decreased “brain drain.” However like any investment, this positive change will never be realized in a short period of time. Behavior change of parents, teachers, leaders and our children will take time but time that is worth waiting for.
With evidence, children who receive sensitive, responsive parenting during infancy and early childhood tend to have better outcomes in the first grade, greater academic competence going forward, better social skills, and better relationships with teachers and peers. It becomes mathematical that due to these social and emotional skills, they tend to group up to adults of good health, responsible citizens (away from crimes) and model parents.
Note that the first three years are fundamental in child development. Clearly, these first three years are a time that cannot be wasted. This is when children begin to develop self-confidence, curiosity, empathy, and self-control. But they need positive and nurturing parents and caregivers because these forms the framework for how children see themselves (gives them a self belief) and how they interact with their world.
Our goal as KALI is that all of us not only nurture the children in our own families, but that we advocate tirelessly for the interventions and investments that gives every child a chance to succeed in life. We advocate for public funds spent on early childhood social and emotional development and not a handout for children and their families, but a solid investment in a better future for Memphis. ALUTA CONTINUA