Loading... please wait

First Years First: Early Childhood Development and the Future We Want | Mainstage

Sherrie Westin, President, Sesame Workshop; Concordia Senior Advisor

Children must be at the heart of the agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sherrie Westin, President of Sesame Workshop, knows well the importance of the first five years. During those tender years, children experience rapid brain development that lays the foundation for their future lives. Brains are also at their most sensitive to the environment surrounding them. Adversity can sadly hinder brain development, but nurturing support can help mitigate the ill effects.

Nurturing care, explained Westin, includes early learning, responsive caregiving, health, nutrition, and physical safety. Rohingya children refugees in Bangladesh needed all of these. Sesame Workshop worked with the LEGO Foundation to develop innovative local content, including both high and low technology, designed for children to see themselves. 

Play is one of the most effective ways for children to learn, Westin affirmed, and early education has the greatest return on investment. She urged stakeholders to accelerate progress on the SDG and put support for young children at the top of the list.

Play is one of the most effective ways for children to learn and to build a broad range of not only cognitive, but social and creative skills.

Sherrie Westin

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • The first five years in a child’s life are crucial to their health and development. Crisis can negatively affect their brains, but responsive support can help counteract the harm.