The early years of life are crucial. When well nurtured and cared for in their earliest years, children are more likely to survive, to grow in a healthy way, to have less disease and fewer illnesses, and to develop thinking, language, emotional and social skills. UNICEF supports effective and essential actions at each phase of the life cycle of the child, including in pregnancy, early childhood, preschool and school-going years and adolescence. It assists parents, teachers, service providers, policy makers and other duty bearers to provide age-relevant support, care and protection for children in a holistic manner. ECD cuts across each of the MTSP 2006-2009 Focus Areas, giving a focus on developing the full range of a child's needs from the first stages of life.