Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s early childhood experts have launched a global movement that aims to provide the best possible outcomes for the world’s youngest children.
The WED movement by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) will focus on tackling challenges related to technology use, unhealthy lifestyles and mental well-being for children aged up to eight years.
Over the next eight months, the Authority will collaborate with experts from around the world to develop innovative methods to resolve these challenges, said Sana Suhail, director general at the ECA. In November, a series of recommendations will be revealed, along with a comprehensive programme of initiatives and campaigns for children and their caregivers.
“In line with the ECA’s strategy, the launch of the WED movement was of great importance as one of its most important projects. It is a message to the world urging us to contribute to the future of our children. It is our responsibility to prepare for a safer, healthier and more well-being future for them, to enable them to achieve the best results,” Suhail said at a virtual press briefing on Tuesday following the launch in Abu Dhabi.
She explained that breakthrough working groups for the movement will work on three focus areas for the moment.
“The first group will consider how to ensure children are ready for cutting-edge technology in their lives. Technology indeed offers many benefits but also has its own challenges and risks,” she said.
The aim will be to optimise the safe use of technology among young children and their guardians, given the growing need for technology amid remote work and learning.
“The second group will explore the impact of today’s lifestyle on early childhood development and identify ways to promote a more positive lifestyle for children, especially in terms of their physical health,” Suhail said.
Cecilia Vaca Jones, chair of the WED breakthrough working groups, told Gulf News the idea is to consider how healthy eating and active lifestyles can be promoted in today’s world.
“Finally, the working groups will also look at ways to support children’s social and emotional development in light of the mental health challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Suhail said.
In fact, children’s mental health and social skills in a world with growing tech use and work-related demands will be a core part of the movement, Thamer Al Qasimi, ECA acting executive director for special projects and outreach, told Gulf News.
The WED movement solutions are being spurred on by the ECA, but they are expected to cater to children around the world, experts stressed.
“We are all subject to many forces of globalisation, and early childhood and caregiving experiences are actually more universal than we often perceive. That is why solutions developed here in Abu Dhabi can be mediated to suit children around the world,”, explained Omar Ghobash, co-chair of the initiative’s breakthrough working groups.