嬰幼兒時期對腦部發展非常重要

 

嬰幼兒時期對腦部發展非常重要

On 15 August 2016 in Belize, 2-year-old Abner laughs while being carried by his father, James Choc, outdoors on their family’s plot of land, in San Felipe Village in the Toledo region. The family, which consists of Abner’s parents, grandparents and aunt – participates in the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP), which brings services to vulnerable families in the region, especially those living in distant and hard-to-reach locations. Just 50 per cent of villages in the remote, predominately Mayan communities in the Toledo region have access to preschool or day-care services for their children. With many caregivers – including Abner’s parents and grandfather – working on plantations or construction sites, young children are at risk of missing out on stimulating interaction, a key element for their development. The UNICEF-supported programme, targets children up to age three who have no access to formal early childhood education. RCP facilitators (known as ‘Roving Caregivers’ or Rovers), who are trained members of the local community, conduct 45-minute home outreach with each of the families they serve, engaging children in age-appropriate stimulating activities through play and encouraging parents and caregivers to participate. They also encourage positive parenting behaviour; and promote behaviour change to address inappropriate parenting practices The 22 Rovers in the RCP programme conduct 45-minute outreach visits with each family. “My favourite part of my children’s lives was when they were young and playing without worry; they were laughing and smiling and growing,” said Abner’s grandmother, Maria Choc (not pictured), a mother of 13.

In recent years, considerable progress was made in the area of Early Childhood Development. In 2011 only 32 per cent of children between 36 and 59 months of age attended an Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme, but this reached 55 per cent by 2015. Disparities however persist as only one in five of the p

© UNICEF/UN032017/LeMoyne

2016年8月15日,兩歲的伯利茲男孩安博納在父親詹姆斯懷中大笑。

紐約/香港,2017年1月10日 – 聯合國兒童基金會(UNICEF)今天發起了 #成長早期至關重要 的宣傳活動,活動得到樂高基金會(Lego Foundation)支持,旨在讓大眾了解兒童出生後的首1,000天的重要性和早期經歷對大腦發展的影響。

在這個關鍵階段,兒童的大腦每秒能夠建立1,000個神經元連接,這速度其後無法再現。神經元連接有助兒童發展大腦功能和學習能力,並為兒童未來的健康和幸福打下基礎。如果兒童缺乏呵護及培養(包括充足營養、早期啟蒙、關愛和免受壓力及暴力的保護),這些重要的神經元連接形成便會受到阻礙。

項目以 #營養、遊戲、關愛 為題,推出數碼媒體及印刷媒體宣傳材料,目的是幫助父母和看護者了解與新生兒大腦發育相關的神經系統科學知識,並以直接和有趣的視覺形式闡釋科學論斷,鼓勵父母和看護者充分利用這個無可替代的機會,盡可能地為孩子提供最好的人生起點。

#營養、遊戲、關愛 倡議活動鼓勵家庭參與,以此推動可負擔的優質早期幼兒發展服務,並呼籲各國政府投資於以最弱勢兒童為受益對象的項目。

根據醫學雜誌《刺針》最近發表的一系列文章,發展中國家有將近2.5億名兒童由於發育遲緩和貧困而面臨發育不良的危機,但是,需要在早期幼兒發展上作更大投資的其實不止低收入國家,中、高收入國家的弱勢兒童其實面臨同樣風險。據UNICEF估計,成百上千萬的年幼兒童在缺乏早期啟蒙、不安全的環境中成長,他們的認知能力、社交能力和情感發展令人擔憂。

針對早期幼兒發展的投資是促進兒童充分發揮潛能最具成本效益的方法之一,此舉可以提升他們在學校的學習能力,以及成年後的謀生能力,這對於在貧困中長大的兒童尤為重要。一項為期20年的研究證明,參加優質早期幼兒發展項目的貧困兒童,成年後的收入比沒有得到同樣支援的人高出25%。

早期幼兒發展的干預措施若能與現有的衞生服務結合,成本可低至每人每年港幣約3.9元(50美金),例如「關愛兒童發展」一攬子計劃就包括社區衞生工作者的培訓,讓他們能夠向有兒童的家庭介紹親子遊戲的重要性,以促進兒童的健康發展。

UNICEF呼籲各國政府增加針對早期幼兒發展的投資,向年幼兒童提供更多衞生和社會服務,並為父母和看護者提供更多支援。

這次倡議活動是UNICEF其中一項促進早期幼兒發展的行動,項目由H&M基金會(H&M Foundation)、康拉德希爾頓基金會(Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)、亞里斯與阿尼(ALEX AND ANI)以及宜家基金會(IKEA Foundation) 提供支持。