Early childhood is the most significant developmental period in life. The World Development Report (WDR) 2018 emphasizes the importance of development in the early years to ensure school readiness. The early years of life are the best opportunity to lay the foundations for a child’s future. By getting it right in early childhood, we plant the seeds for tomorrow’s engaged and active student, productive and skilled worker, and confident and loving parents (COAG 2009b).
While in many middle-income countries average learning levels remain far behind those in high-income countries, in many low-income countries, learning levels are low in an absolute sense. For millions of children, schooling is providing little learning in the early grades or not learning in school. Globally, approximately 125 million children are not acquiring functional literacy or numeracy, even after spending at least four years in school. More than 60 percent of primary school children in developing countries are struggling to meet minimum proficiency benchmark for learning. An estimated 250 million children who attend primary school in developing countries are struggling to read even basic words (UNESCO, 2014).