Our priority

First months and years of life are a period of unique opportunity in the physical, mental, and emotional formation of each child. The brain develops at an intense and unrepeatable pace in the first 1,000 days of life. Prolonged exposure to adversity and toxic stress in early childhood can have lifelong consequences on health, learning, behaviour, and well-being across the life span. There is overwhelming scientific evidence in several disciplines – pedagogy, social sciences, neuroscience, psychology, and economics – on the importance of early childhood development.

This period is crucial for the neuro-development process to be carried out in a way that allows the child to develop self-regulation, empathy and self-confidence skills and the ability to learn, build positive relationships and interact with the environment around him.

Studies also show that many of the major public health concerns experienced in adult life (e.g. obesity, heart disease, and mental health problems) link to experiences during the first 1,000 days of life.

Despite the evidence, this stage in the life cycle receives relatively little attention in politics and public policies.

To bridge the gap between what we know about the importance of early childhood and the children’s actual experience, we need to raise awareness about the challenges families face caring for young children, and the policies and interventions that will help to address them.


The Primeiros Anos a Nossa Prioridade Campaign focuses on giving priority to children up to 6 years of age, with special attention to the first 1,000 days of life, rooted in the understanding that:

To recognize and value the importance of early childhood is central to the sustainability of any society. Failure to do so leads to the fact that many children still do not have the opportunity to develop their full potential, particularly when living in poverty and/or social exclusion, and that we continue to try to mitigate the consequences (through social transfers, school support, social services, etc.) rather than acting on the causes."

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We advocate:

The Campaign aims to influence the EU and harness its power to lead on policy recommendations and support funding, primarily within EU Member States, but also in neighbourhood countries. We want policy makers, in the countries engaged in the campaign and in EU institutions, to better understand how ECD promotes inclusion and to commit to adopt an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to ECD.


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