Save the Children has launched a new report titled Beyond Access: Exploring Equity in Early Childhood Development. The report focuses on findings from the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA), incorporating data from 38 sites and over 20,000 children. The report answers three key research questions:
1. How does the relationship between age and IDELA scores inform our understanding of the pace of development and readiness for primary school across different countries?
2. What skills do children display in the areas of literacy, motor, numeracy and social-emotional development as they enter primary school?
3. How is children’s early learning and development related to gender, socio-economic status and home learning environment?
Results suggest that children gain knowledge with age, but that there are large variations between children’s skills within age groups. Furthermore, stronger socioeconomic status, access to reading materials and toys, frequent caregiver-child activities and freedom from harsh discipline promote stronger learning and development. The report concludes that ages 3 to 5 mark a critical period of brain development for children and that education systems need to be aware of and responsive to children’s diverse needs and skill levels as they enter formal schooling.