Course Code: ECD
Term: On Demand
Open for Enrollment
Please note this instance is private to UNICEF staff only. Please use your UNICEF email address to log in and access the course material.
Children are the common basis for all dimensions of sustainable development. No advances in sustainable development will occur in coming decades without multiple generations contributing to societal improvement. Moreover, beyond sheer survival, children have a right to thrive, develop to their full potential, and live in a sustainable world.
Around the world, governments, organizations, and communities are working to improve the life chances of young children, from universal prekindergarten programs in the United States, to the Integrated Child Development Services in India, to the Madrasa Early Childhood Program in East Africa. In spite of these efforts, it is currently estimated that 250 million children under the age of 5 worldwide are failing to meet their development potential.
A range of powerful risk factors lead to this incredible loss of human potential. Malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, lack of stimulation and learning opportunities, and many other challenges result in high odds of early mortality, school failure, early pregnancy, joblessness, and costly disease. The levers for change rest in local and community strengths that promote resilience, as well as national and global action. Recognizing the interconnectedness of poverty reduction, health, education, agriculture, energy, gender equality, social inclusion, and development within planetary boundaries should place children and an inter-generational vision of development at the heart of the work of the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
This course draws from research in neuroscience, psychology, economics, anthropology and program implementation and evaluation in order to discuss Early Childhood Development and explore its role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Completing the course will lead to understanding:
• The ways in which children grow during this most rapid phase of development (physical, social, cognitive, emotional)
• How the environment interacts with the body to build brain architecture and influence children’s growth and development
• Milestones of child development, what is it that children know and can do at birth, by the second year, by preschool age
• How child development and its contexts vary across cultures and societies
• How can programs and policies support children’s development?
• How can they best be implemented to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals related to children and youth?
• How can innovation push forward the field of ECD program development and how can you participate?
Join Professor Hirokazu Yoshikawa (New York University, Global TIES for Children), along with Professors Jack Shonkoff (Harvard Center on the Developing Child), Catherine Tamis-LeMonda (New York University), Aisha Yousafzai (Harvard Chan School of Public Health) and UNICEF Senior Advisor and Chief of Early Childhood Development Pia Rebello Britto for this SDG Academy course!
The course is On Demand, therefore all material is made available to students upon enrollment. The success of the course depends on an active student base representing a diversity of experiences, geographies and perspectives, so add your voice to the global discusison by registering today!
1.1 Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development
1.2 The State of the World's Children
1.3 How Brain Architecture Develops
1.4 The Impact of Adversity & Toxic Stress
1.5 Resilience & How to Foster It
Child Development: Prenatal to Age 3
2.1 Development in Culture & Context
2.2 Physical Development
2.3 Cognitive Development and Perception
2.4 Language Development
2.5 Social Development
2.6 Emotional Development &Temperament
Child Development: Ages 3 to 8
3.1 Physical Development
3.2 Cognitive Development & Executive Function
3.4 Socio-emotional Development
Tour of ECD Programs and Sectors Part I
4.1 Introduction to Multi-sector Aspects
4.2 Health Programs
4.3 Nutrition & Parenting Programs
Tour of ECD Programs and Sectors Part 2
5.1 Social Protection Programs
5.2 Early Care & Education Programs
5.3 Child Protection Programs
Communities and Situations of Conflict and Migration
6.1 Uganda Case Study
6.2 Community Based Programs
6.3 Conflict & Migration
From Programs to Policies
7.1 How is Policy Created?
7.2 Quality, Governance & Sustainability
7.3 Financing ECD Policies
The Future: Innovations and Growth
8.1 Innovation in ECD
8.2 Innovation from Around the World
8.3 Conclusion: The Future of ECD
Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at New York University Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU. He is Co-Director, with Larry Aber, of the Global TIES for Children Center at NYU. He is a community and developmental psychologist who studies the effects of public policies and programs related to immigration, early childhood, and poverty reduction on children’s development in low- and middle-income countries and in the United States. Since 2013 he has co-chaired the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Thematic Network on Early Childhood Development and Education and has led SDSN’s work in Early Childhood Development. He serves on the Boards of the Russell Sage Foundation and the Foundation for Child Development, and on the advisory boards of the Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Program and the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report.
Jack P. Shonkoff
Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently serves as chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, a group of distinguished scholars whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting young children, and chairs the JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new knowledge and measurement capacity to assess the biological, bio-behavioral, and health consequences of excessive stress system activation. In 2011, Dr. Shonkoff launched Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral collaboration among researchers, practitioners, policymakers, investors, and experts in systems change who are committed to developing more effective intervention strategies to catalyze breakthrough impacts on the development and health of young children and families experiencing significant adversity.
Catherine Tamis-LeMonda is Professor of Applied Psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development. Her research is focused on infant and toddler learning and development among diverse populations in the United States and in Europe, Central Asia and East Asia. Her research considers the development and contexts of young children’s language and communication, object play, cognition, motor skills, gender identity, emotion regulation, and social understanding, and the long term implications of early emerging skills for children’s developmental trajectories. She investigates how skills in different domains reciprocally affect one another and snowball over time (that is, the theoretical construct of “developmental cascades”), and examines the role of socio-cultural context on early development. A core emphasis of this research is on the quality of mothers’ and fathers’ interactions with children –in particular their contingent responsiveness and richness of child-directed language – in relation to children’s development and, conversely, how emerging communicative skills in children influence their everyday learning experiences and interactions with parents.
Aisha Yousafzai is Associate Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her work focuses on developing new interventions and approaches to promote early child development with a particular interest in how to strengthen child and caregiving related outcomes through existing health, nutrition and education systems; understanding the implementation structures and processes for early childhood interventions to achieve sustainable impact at-scale; and promoting capacity development in local communities, services and systems for the effective delivery of interventions to promote early child development. She has extensive experience in evaluating early childhood interventions in South Asia, East Africa, and in Central and Eastern Europe. Dr. Yousafzai has directed the Pakistan Early Child Development Scale-Up (PEDS) trial, a cluster randomized controlled trial evaluating responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions to strengthen early child development and growth outcomes. The PEDS trial cohort is currently being followed-up at age 8 years old to investigate early intervention effects at school age.
Guest Speaker, Week 8
Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF
Dr Pia Britto joined UNICEF in 2014 as Chief of Early Childhood Development, bringing with her many years of expertise in early childhood policy and programs. Prior to joining UNICEF she was an Assistant Professor at Yale University and is internationally renowned for her work on developing, implementing and evaluating early childhood programs and policies around the world. This includes providing evidence for the role of governance and finance in national systems in achieving equity; developing models for quality early childhood services; promoting women’s economic empowerment, and the role of parents and caregivers. Dr Britto has been the recipient of various awards and grants; has published articles, books and reports; and made numerous presentations at both academic and non-academic conferences and seminars. She obtained her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University.
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The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development