importance of early childhood development

why early years?

why play?


The first six years of a child’s life are critical, laying the foundations for their future development and wellbeing. Inadequate care and stimulation in the early years leads to poor health, poor education, lost life opportunities and poverty. As well as disadvantaging these children and their families, it is estimated that this lost potential reduces adult earning income by 20%. Conversely children who receive quality early years care are proven to have better school readiness, school achievement and higher adult earnings. Cost-benefit ratios of early intervention indicate that for every dollar spent on improving early child development, returns can be on average 4 to 5 times the amount invested, and in some cases, much higher.  [The Lancet 2007, 2011 & 2016 ECD series].

One of the most important ways for a child to learn and develop is through play. Play is an excellent way for children to learn information, ideas and skills. Through play, children learn to discover and interact with the world around them. Play arouses curiosity and stimulates imagination, which leads to discovery and creativity. Play provides a way for children to express their feelings and work through emotional disturbances and builds teamwork and leadership skills. Play develops dexterity as well as physical and cognitive strength. The elements of play – curiosity, discovery, novelty, risk-taking, trial and error, games, social etiquette– are the same as the components of learning. Play has been shown to enhance school readiness, learning behaviours and problem-solving skills.

Please reload

Please reload

Situation in Ghana

91 pupils per trained Kindergarten teacher (Northern region) [EMIS 2015]

23% teacher absenteeism [Transparency International, 2013]

Less than 20% of children in Primary years 3 & 6 achieved proficiency in English and Maths in Northern & Upper East reigons [2011 National Education Assessment]

“Kindergarten education remains entrenched in a rote learning style, which is neither child-centred nor activity-based. Teacher pedagogical practice typically shows a lack of understanding as to how children should learn and how teachers should teach." [The 2012 Ghana Education Service KG Improvement Plan]

Median education attainment for women of 0.0 years (Northern) and 2.9 years (Upper East) [Ghana Demographic & Health Survey, 2014]

Only 9% of rural families in Ghana have access to improved sanitation facilities [WHO, 2015]

94% of our Mothers have not completed primary school  [our baseline surveys]

Situation in Uganda

60% of our Mothers have not completed primary school  [our baseline surveys]

Only 17% of rural families in Uganda have access to improved sanitation facilities [WHO, 2015]

Gross enrolment kindergarten ratio of 11% 

56% primary school completion rates  [World Bank]

"‘Since the brain grows to 90% of its adult weight by age five, and since 40% of Uganda’s population is below five years old, investing in ECD provides a unique opportunity to improve the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of the country’s future workforce." [National Development Plan II for ECD 2015]

© 2018 by Lively Minds. Proudly created with


Registered address:  PO Box 72928,  London,  N13 4TL

Registered charity: 1125512

GHANA:                                             UGANDA:

Registered NGO:  DSW 6759            Registered NGO : 13025