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Paediatr Child Health. 2011 Dec;16(10):655-60.

Measuring in support of early childhood development.

[Article in English, French]

Abstract

A child's early experiences and environments have a significant, measurable effect on later life trajectories of health and well-being. Each child's own world, especially parents and other caregivers, literally sculpts the brain and impacts stress pathways. Effective early childhood interventions exist that can improve adult and societal outcomes. In this statement, the Canadian Paediatric Society calls on federal and provincial/territorial governments to measure and monitor the developmental progress of children in Canada, which can vary widely among communities and demographic groups. The statement explores the objectives for collecting quality information about early child development, its determinants and long-term outcomes. It also examines four approaches to collecting population-based, person-specific and longitudinal data, both in young children and later in life. A key outcome of monitoring development is timely intervention. Linking individual data to the home and community levels is a critical step, so that communities and governments can monitor and take actions that support early child development.

KEYWORDS:

Early childhood development; Longitudinal data; Population health; Social determinants

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