".. other living species,... also with the total environment in which we live." They explain the human ecosystem to include three fundamental organizing conceptions: the human environed unit (HEU); the natural environment (NE); the human constructed environment (HCE).
The following diagram portrays "The Human Ecosystem":
Bubolz, Eicher, and Sontag (1979, p. 29)
The human environed unit (HEU) displayed in the center is located in a specific space in time and can be a sole person or a group, i.e. A family; village; town, etc. The natural environment (NE) constitutes the environment.".. formed by nature with spec-time, physical, and biological components." (Ibid) The human constructed environment (HCE) is described as an environment that humans have constructed, created or changed and includes.".. cultural patterns, such as technology, language, laws, values and aesthetic standards...." (Ibid) These cultural patterns provide the foundation for communication; order, etc.
The human behavioral environment (HBE) is defined as the.".. environment of human beings and their biophysical, psychological and social behaviors." (Ibid, 30) An individual's presence, as well as, his/her physical posture and body's movements are included in HBE. According to Bubolz, Eicher, and Sontag (Ibid), for needs such as love and communication (also self-fulfillment), HBE is necessary. They present examples which reflect interactions among components in environments, as well as, between environments. Humans, they contend, are.".. dependent on all components of their environment to satisfy needs and desires." (Ibid). Consequently, the affect is mutual as people also affect their environments. In their article, Bubolz, Eicher, and Sontag (Ibid) contend that the ecological framework they describe can assist a researcher relate humanity concepts and.".. The biological, physicl, and social sciences within home economics and human ecology." (Ibid) They also note, however, during the time of their writing in 1979, the model presented is not fully developed and is in the process of being amplified.
According to "Environmental Degradation and Human Well-Being: Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment" (2005): the initial report from "The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an elaborate international project set up in 2001 under UN auspices," with the goal to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to human well-being." (Ibid) was published during March 2005. This effort by more than 1,000 panel experts, as well as, working affiliates, writers, plus reviewers completed numerous reports regarding "global and regional situations, scenarios of the future, and options for sustainable management." (Ibid) "Environmental Degradation and Human Well-Being: Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment" (2005) relates Assessment Findings #1 and #2 "from the section of the report titled Summary for Decision-makers." Finding #1 reports that during the past 50 years, a major, primarily permanent loss in Earth's life diversity has occurred due to humans meeting increasing demands for water; food; fuel fiber; etc. These negative changes in the structure and functioning of the world's ecosystems reportedly occurred faster in the second half of the twentieth century than during any other time. Finding #2 notes that despite some positive changes made to ecosystems, causing increase in "net gains in human well-being and economic development... gains have been achieved at growing costs in the form of the degradation of many ecosystem services, increased risks of nonlinear changes, and the exacerbation of poverty for some groups of people." (Ibid) Unless countered, these concerns will dramatically decrease yields future generations could gain from ecosystems.
Also noted in this report are reflections of ongoing ecosystem concerns:
Income disparities, alongside other accounts of human well-being increased during the past 10 years.
A child born in sub-Saharan Africa is 20 times more likely to die before age 5 than a child born in an industrial country, and this disparity is higher than it was a decade ago.
During the 1990s, 21 countries experienced declines in their rankings in the Human Development Index (an aggregate measure of economic well-being, health, and education); 14 of them were in sub-Saharan Africa....
Half the urban population in Africa... suffers from one or more diseases associated with inadequate water and sanitation. Worldwide, approximately 1.7 million people die annually as a result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene." ("Environmental Degradation and Human Well-Being: Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment," 2005)
Along with reflecting statistics and concerns regarding early childhood development, methods for investing in early childhood development are presented in "Meeting the Challenge of Early Childhood Development in South Africa" (2001). Inequity of provision and opportunity in South Africa is noted with recommendations of ways to counter these negative components in the ecosystem. The National ECD Pilot Programme (sic) considers "Establishing a national system of Reception Year provision for five-year-olds... Expanding provision and building coherent and targeted inter-sectoral programmes for children from birth to four years. ("Meeting the Challenge..," 2001, p. 2-3)
In the Preface by Kader Asmal, the Minister of Education, he notes UNICEF' report,
The State of the World's Children 2001... ranks South Africa 66th, behind countries such as Botswana, Nicaragua, Mexico, Libya, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Greece, in its under-five mortality rate, a critical indicator of the well-being of children."
Asmal contends that challenges for parents include making finding/making time; devoting energies, extending resources to adequately care for their children. To assist in success in their struggles to do what is right for/by their children, advice and counsel from support.
Approximately 40% of young children in South Africa grow up in conditions of abject poverty and neglect." (Ibid, p. 5) Being raised in extremely poor families contributes to the urgency the Department of Education implement a plan and actions to counter challenges of early learning opportunities. Suitable interventions can repeal early deprivations' affects, as well as, increase children's development potential. Asmal stresses, "The challenge for the Government is to help break the cycle of poverty by increasing access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes (sic), particularly for poor children, and to improve the quality of these programmes (sic). (Ibid).
Child development research purports the primary part of a child's brain development occurs before he/she is three years old. During this developing period, children "develop their abilities to think and speak, learn and reason and lay the foundation for their values and social behaviour as adults? (Ibid, p. 7) When these children receive healthy starts and solid foundations during their initial months and years, they are less likely so become ill, have to repeat grades in school or discontinue remedial services. As evidence confirms young children can learn and appropriated pre-school experiences can positively impact them and their future learning, early childhood education is necessary and needs to be a priority. Benefits netting from investing in early childhood education/development affect the rest of a child's life. It is argued that "With quality ECD provision in South Africa:
Educational efficiency will advance. Children learning skills and basic concepts will improve their chance for success later in school.
The number of under-age and under-prepared learners will decrease, which will in turn, decrease the number of school dropouts.
Students will be more likely to reach their full potential.
Positive life skills and concepts, along with a foundation for lifelong learning will be given to students.
Children's rights will be advanced.
Improved economic conditions and increased productivity over a lifetime will be enhanced.
Children of poor rural and poor urban communities, with urgent needs, will most likely to benefit from early childhood education/development.
Inter-generational "cycles of poverty, disease, violence and discrimination" (Ibid, p. 8-9) can begin to end.
More and more professionals and parents, along with increasing evidence confirm "young children are capable learners and that suitable educational experience during the pre-school years can have a positive impact on school learning." (Ibid, p. 11) Investing in early childhood education presents opportunities for children to grow up in self-esteem and equality.
During the pre-school period as children develop learn to think/speak; learn/reason, the groundwork for their future values and behaviors is also laid.
Along with the need for protection from physical dangers, children ages 0-3 years of age need sufficient and/or suitable nourishment; health care; immunizations; an adult with whom they can attach, who is able to understand and respond to them. These children also need things to stimulate/nurture their senses of sight; hearing; touch; taste; smell. They need support, along with chances to discover their world and what it includes. Stimulus for fitting language is necessary, along with opportunities (and support) to acquire new language, mental and motor skills. Independence development along with assistance to learn self-control, self-care, and self-worth are needed. Other options needed to be utilized for this age children include talking; singing; being talked to, as well as, read to, skill development activities which nurture and encourage self-expression creativity. (Ibid, p. 38)
As numerous kinds of ECD services exist, fragmented services, as well as service duplications, at times…