INEE Thematic Issue Brief: Early Childhood Development

The period of time from prenatal to eight years is one of the most sensitive developmental phases in an individual’s life. This time is characterized by rapid brain development and the acquisition of foundational skills and competencies which form the basis for future development.  Children who experience extreme and adverse stress in their early years are at greater risk for developing cognitive, behavioural and emotional difficulties, which also reduces and delays their overall developmental processes. Their parents and caregivers are more likely to be stressed and depressed, and thus less able to provide young children with positive and emotionally nurturing environments. Such children are more likely to start school late, experience academic failure and develop socially aggressive behaviours. Research shows that an accumulation of stressful events becomes increasingly detrimental to children’s development, especially when no compensatory forces are at work to mitigate the effects.

Resource Info


Published by

Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)


Levels of Learning - Early Childhood Development