The Impact of Poverty on the Developmental Process in Toddlerhood

Poverty has serious impact upon child’s development and outcomes of the educational process during the first years of life. This impact could be either direct or indirect. School readiness and ability of a child to be successful in education form the way towards avoiding poverty in adult age. Thus there is a kind of vicious circle, when a poor child does not have the chance to obtain good education, he or she becomes a poor adult in the future. This is the reason, why there is a need to make the corresponding interventions into the process of education and improve school readiness of children in poverty in order to support children from poor families. Poverty has a great impact upon child development starting from toddler years, as it relates to the spheres of social and educational spheres, causing additional obstacles for children from low –income families.

There is no universally accepted definition of the concept of poverty. Poverty could be defined with limiting only to economic terms, at the same time it could be viewed as an integral part of social disadvantage. The economic definition of poverty is related to purely financial aspects and income measures, whereas most of the researchers prefer to use a broader definition of poverty “suggesting that “poor” means lacking not only material assets and health but also capabilities, such as social belonging, cultural identity, respect and dignity, and in­ formation and education.” (Mapolisa, 2016, p. 1461).

Child development includes a variety of interdependent skills, such as cognitive-language, sensor motor, social-emotional functioning, which are initially defined by the child’s physical state and family context and later also lager social network. Schools readiness is defined by the number of skills, which would affect the child’s ability to learn, including motor skills, emotional and self-regulation, social skills, communication skills, attention span, motivation, curiosity and so on.

In any country, in any society poverty is a serious challenger and chronic stress for children. Poverty interferes with naturally positive development of children, their ability to adjust to developmental tasks and school education. Those children, who grow up in low-income families face great risks of poor academic performance and social adaptation problems in addition to problems with health and overall well-being.

Children from low-income families are not adequately motivated for their education and they are often not prepared for school starting from their toddler years. “Typical problems are  parental  inconsistency  (with  regard  to daily routines and parenting), frequent changes of caregivers, lack of supervision and poor role modeling and lack of support.” (Engle & Black, n.d.). Toddlers from low income families have usually lower measures of communication skills and vocabulary, knowledge of numbers and symbols, they are not able to focus upon concrete tasks and cooperate for playing with other children in comparison to children from households with higher income. “Recent evidence suggests that the complex web of social relationships children experience with peers, adults in the school, and family members, exerts a much greater influence on their behavior than researchers had previously assumed.” (Engle & Black, n.d.). 

Socio-economic status of a child plays an important role for his socialization in the community of school peers. Children, who experience poverty from their toddler years, face daily challenges, and their brains are to adapt to sub optional conditions, which have negative impact upon their perspectives in school performance.

Overall, taking into consideration the versatile and serious impact of poverty upon toddlers and their future educational opportunities and socialization efforts, there is a need to establish the needed measures for poverty level reduction for the sake of increase of general educational and child development outcomes.


Engle, Patrice, L., Black, Maureen. (n.d.). The Effect of Poverty on Child Development and Educational Outcomes. University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Mapolisa , Tichaona. (2016). Effects of Poverty among Early Childhood Development Education (ECD). Children in Chimanimani District Primary Schools: A Case Study  ofMuchadziya Primary School

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: June 18, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: June 18, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: June 18, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 18, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 18, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 18, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 18, 2021]
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