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Children’s learning and development are usually achieved through their interactions with caring human beings in safe, nurturing, and inspiring environments. Young children’s experiences in the first years of their life create the basis for subsequent learning. Although early childhood is a period of great prospects for human growth and development, it is also a time when children are especially vulnerable. Currently, despite considerable progress in many countries in the area of early childhood care and education, the status of young children remains critical, particularly in the poorest countries.

In fields like biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics, as well as in applied research on education, social policy, health, law, and development studies, there is an agreement that children’s physical and psychological development is shaped by their ...

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