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The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust



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Facts for Life

Child Development and Early Learning

Supporting Information


Entering primary school on time is critical to ensure the continuity of a child's development. Support from parents, other caregivers, teachers and the community is very important.

Why it is important - All key messages - How children develop (chart) - Resources

In most countries, children start primary school at around 6 or 7 years of age. Starting school is a critical stage in a child's development.

Both girls and boys should start school at the appropriate age (in accordance with their country's policy). By the time they enter school, they should have basic cognitive and language skills and sufficient social competency and emotional development to allow them to enjoy learning in the formal school setting.

The support of parents and other caregivers is very important for children's successful transition to school. Parents and other caregivers should equally and fully support both girls and boys in attending school regularly and being well prepared. They should also be involved in school activities. This helps children adapt to the school setting, settle more quickly into the school learning environment and attend school regularly.

Teachers should be prepared to support young children who are still developing their basic potential for learning. Teachers have a key role in building the confidence of both girls and boys so that they can equally enjoy and succeed at learning. Play continues to be a basic medium of teaching and learning in the early school years. A child-friendly school that supports active learning and promotes participation offers the best learning environment for children.

Along with families and the school, the community – both local authorities and civil society – can contribute to:

  • making school a priority within the community
  • making sure the school is a safe and welcoming place for all children
  • making sure the school has the resources it needs, including community members involved in school management and parent-teacher associations.

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