Examine best practices in child and family policies, advocacy, financing, and pathways to scale learning how to generate innovative, scalable intervention strategies that support early childhood development. Together, Harvard University and UNICEF bring global experience from communities to policymakers, evidence, and experts from around the world.
Background on Early Childhood Development
How can we ensure that we don’t fail the next generation of children? What investments do we need to make an impact? What implementation decisions do we need to make for program success?
An estimated 250 million children in low- and middle-income countries risk not meeting their development potential in the first five years of life leading to lifelong impacts on health, learning, behavior, and overall adult productivity. During this critical time, strategic interventions can ensure children have a strong foundation to lead healthy, productive lives as engaged citizens.
There is an urgent need to increase access to high-quality early childhood development intervention programs on national and global scales. While the science behind the importance of early development and funding for these programs has increased globally, policy development, research, and implementation best practices have not been widely adopted.
As the COVID-19 virus disrupts health, nutrition, childcare, and education services, and stretches social and child protection systems to their limits, children and families least able to cope are being hit hardest with inequities in childhood development widening. Evidence-based policies that support families and young children are needed now more than ever. This course examines best practices in child and family policies, advocacy, financing, and pathways to scale showing you how to generate an innovative, scalable intervention strategy that supports early childhood development.
About this course on Early childhood development
The course begins with a review of basic early childhood development concepts and successful implementation programs around the world. We learn why some programs succeed where others do less well and what strategies are key for enabling widespread adaptation of quality programming. For those working around the world in early childhood development programs, this course allows you to reflect and evaluate your own organization by reviewing real-world case successes, as well as a new global perspective from other learners. You will complete the course with new plans and ideas ready to implement within your program.
Successful implementation requires partnerships across implementation and research in real-world contexts. Together, Harvard University and UNICEF will bring global experience from communities to policy makers, evidence and experts from around the world. Aisha Yousafzai (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health) and Pia Britto (UNICEF) will introduce you to real-world experts in programs, policy and research including Dr. Marquita Davis, Deputy Director of Early Learning at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation speaking about Head Start.
Dr. Christine Powell from the Caribbean Institute for Health Research at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica speaking about Reach Up; Sumitra Mishra, Executive Director of Mobile Creches speaking about Mobile Creches; Sabrina Habib, the Co-Founder and Chief Exploration Officer at Kidogo speaking about Kidogo; Ayah Younis, Writer and Illustrator in Jordan from Ahlan Simsim; Marie Louise Samuels, Former Director Early Childhood Development in the Department of Basic Education in South Africa speaking about Grade R, and Claudia Andrea Zamora Reszczynski, Specialist in the National Team of Chile Crece Contigo at the Ministry of Social Development and Family of Chile speaking about Chile Crece Contigo.
What you will learn?
- Gain knowledge about the state of the science on effective interventions for early childhood development.
- Learn what makes programs successful around the world in supporting early childhood development and why some programs fail.
- Reflect on changes for your program, becoming familiar with the steps to design successful interventions that support early childhood development and understand what services you need to prioritize.
- Explore strategies to enable widespread adaptation of quality programming and evaluate the effectiveness of your programming.
Module 1- Understanding Basic Concepts: Early Childhood Development (ECD) & Frameworks for Implementation of Programs
- What is ECD and why is it important?
- Why should we invest in ECD interventions?
- What protective factors support ECD, and risk factors threaten ECD?
- Types of interventions, platforms and sectors support ECD.
- What Implementation features matter to implement ECD interventions?
Module 2- Designing Interventions to Promote Early Childhood Development (ECD)
- What are the active ingredients of effective ECD interventions?
- What can we learn about active ingredients from case studies of ECD programs around the world?
Module 3- Thinking About the “How” of Evidence-Based Implementation for Early Childhood Interventions
- Understanding Delivery and Dose
- Understanding Demand
- How to make program quality improvements? Plan- Do-Study-Act (PDSA)?
Module 4- Achieving Scale: Strengthening Systems to Support ECD
- What implementation strategies help systems to support ECD interventions?
- Learning about four implementation strategies: Workforce development, advocacy & communication, costing &
- financing, multisectoral coordination
- Applying implementation strategies in global contexts
Module 5- Measuring Change: Are Our Programs and Policies Working?
- to consider when measuring progress in ECD interventions?
- What to consider when measuring progress in ECD policies?
- What challenWhat ges might we face in eliciting change, and how can data collection efforts and partnerships help us identify potential solutions?
Module 6- Moving Forward: Frontiers in ECD Programs
- What challenges do we foresee for children in the coming years?
- Frontiers for ECD implementation strategies
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- 1-3 Months
- Online Course
- Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
- Childhood development
- Harvard University