Scientific research in early childhood development documents the rapid brain development in the first few years and the positive influence of environmental stimulation (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). All the emerging evidence have led to increasing investment in early childhood education and interventions in different parts of the World.
Recent studies on Hong Kong children using Chinese Early Development Instrument found significant gradient relationship between school readiness of preschool children and their family socioeconomic backgrounds. A significant proportion of the gradients could be accounted by mediators from both family processes (e.g. parent-child interactive activities) and kindergarten resources (e.g. teacher education level, education relevance and working experience). Duration of sleep was also found to be an important predictor of the developmental outcome of Hong Kong children.
Given the importance of these scientific findings, parents and professionals should pay more attention to evidence-based practice in promoting early childhood development. Key facilitators and barriers need to be identified in order to design effective intervention programs at both population and individual levels. There is an urgent need of integrating the existing education, health and child care services in order to provide an optimal platform and a more stimulating environment for our children to develop. Building a solid foundation for children in the early years provides the best chance for children to have optimal health, wellbeing and educational success. The foundations built in the early years will have impacts on children right through the course of their lives.
It is our honor to have Dr. Patrick Ip as our Guest Speaker. Dr. Ip is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Hong Kong University and a Consultant Paediatrician working in Queen Mary Hospital.
He graduated with his medical degree in HKU and received further training in the Imperial College, London. He is a Child Neurologist and Developmental Paediatrician experienced in child health services in hospital and in the community, and is also an authorized tutor of the Association of Research in Infant and Child Development in United Kingdom.
Dr Ip’s research interests lie on the different dimensions of Community Child Health including public health, early childhood development, childhood injury and safeguarding children and adolescent health, and has contributed significantly to the academic world by publishing book chapters and important scientific manuscripts in prestigious peer-reviewed journals.