99FM – Your Inspiration Station

The First 1000 Days 

How to seize this window of opportunity for the optimal development of your child’s brain.

“Our early years of life – from conception to eight years of age – are absolutely critical in shaping human development, workforce development and healthy populations,” states DeeDee Yates, the leader of a critical thinking forum on integrated early childhood development. 

“There is a substantial body of evidence on the importance of early childhood development experiences that shape a person’s achievements and health throughout life. 

In fact, this forum created waves in the Namibian market when it was revealed that science could predict what you could earn as an adult when you are only two years old. 


According to team member Professor Linda Richter, “Over the last 20 years, a remarkable convergence in scientific evidence has occurred across the disciplines of child psychology, neuroscience, genetics, biology and epidemiology. Long-term studies are demonstrating that templates for metabolism, ability to cope with stress, learning and social integration are laid down during the first 1000 days of a child’s life, thus strongly influencing adolescent and adult health and wellbeing. 

DeeDee explains, “The problems we encounter in Namibia with high repetition rates in schools, high levels of gender-based violence, entrenched income inequalities and lack of productivity can, in part, be attributed to our inaction with regard to early childhood development experiences.”

Another team member, Chris Desmond goes on to say that, “early childhood development services and support are associated with higher levels of employment and earning potential and, ultimately, an increase in productivity, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and increased tax revenue.

“Studies suggest that pre-school participation contributes to increases of between five and ten percent in labour income over a lifetime. 

For the state of our economy and the realisation of Vision 2030, individually and as a nation, we need to re-examine the foundations we are laying in early childhood development.

Catch MYD Heart on 99FM, Mondays to Fridays on ‘The Pulse’ at 17h35.