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Boa Vista, Capital of Early Childhood

What is early childhood? Why is care and investment so important in this period?

The period from birth to age 6 is called early childhood. Phase in which the brain presents its capacity of learning to the maximum. Here the child is shaped by experiences, relationships, interactions with people and the environment. Care, kindness, affection and lots of love have the power to build something magnificent for this child to become a more emotionally and psychologically prepared adult in the future.

According to studies by the economist James Heckman, Nobel Economist in 2000, investing in this age group of the population can guarantee an increase of up to 60% in the income of the country, besides reducing social problems such as low schooling, violence and child mortality. For the full development of the baby and the child to happen, adequate bonding, affection and stimulation are necessary in a safe and healthy environment, performed by parents and / or caregivers. Early childhood is the window into which experiences, discoveries, and affections are carried for the rest of one’s life.

The Municipal Government of Boa Vista, in the management of the mayor Teresa Surita, has carried out several actions to promote the development of early childhood in the city, in an integrated, continuous and structured way, whose rewards are now being perceived and will also be harvested in the future. The importance of the theme in the local context is made explicit by the implementation, since 2013, of the public policy Família Que Acolhe that covers the health, education, social, urban planning areas and in all other opportunities that the municipal public power has to interact and / or intervene in the lives of these children and their families.

This policy is translated into municipal services provision, which guarantee integrated and differentiated care in early childhood. And they are subsidized by strategies that promote the development of children – such as home visits and the Small Group Meeting with pregnant women and mothers (Baby University), and by appropriate public spaces for this age group, as is the case of our squares with playgrounds, interactive toys and rubber floors, and bus shelters, bonded with messages of interaction and stimulation of child development.

Mayor Teresa Surita believes that investing in children from 0 to 6 years old is the ideal way to reach a fairer and happier society with healthy and balanced adults. In her administrative management, she has paved the way with a modern and structured public education, differentiated medical care, social reception and use of high technology, as well as the construction of open and adequate spaces for coexistence and family interaction. For Teresa, we need to plan cities that are more welcoming, that include with love the children and guarantee them better living conditions, like what is happening in every place of Boa Vista.

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What partnerships have we already received?

Making Boa Vista the best capital of Brazil in quality of life, where early childhood is a priority, is the vision of the City of Boa Vista. In order to make this vision a reality, political decisions were taken and partnerships were signed for the same purpose: child development. The work carried out in Boa Vista entered the national and international scenario as a reference in caring for children from gestation to six years old. Much of this recognition was consolidated with the partnerships between the City Hall and entities linked to early childhood.

Since 2013, scholars, politicians, representatives of NGOs and Brazilian and other countries institutions, researchers, and journalists have visited Boa Vista to learn about, study and support the Família que Acolhe program (FQA), created by Mayor Teresa Surita, which is the basis of all child development work.

From these contacts, important partnerships were made, contributing to the strengthening of the public policy for early childhood in Boa Vista:

  • Municipal Strategic Planning for Early Childhood: Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation
  • Qualification of more than 4,600 trained professionals in Early Childhood Development: Instituto Primeiros Anos
  • Fundamental education network Saber Igual (Adjustments in teaching methodology with technical advice, didactic / educational books, manuals, resources, pedagogical proposal): IAB Institute
  • Evaluation of the effects of Reading from the Cradle, a project of the Mothers Houses that encourages reading between parents and children as a strengthening of family ties: New York University and IAB Institute
  • Home Visitation – Jamaica Model with beneficiaries of the Family Program that receives: IDB / Grand Challenges Canada / FMCSV / USP
  • Implementation of the first Brazilian Child Curriculum – following the definitions of the National Curricular Common Base: FMCSV / FGV / CEIPE / MELQO
  • Urban analysis focused on early childhood, through the creation of the Technological Territorial Center – Instituto Arnaiz
  • Implementation of the Urban95 project that assisted the municipality in the adaptation of the urban space for early childhood and improvement of the technological platform Social City – Bernard Van Leer Foundation.