Early Childhood Development

Improving lives through early childhood interventions

Early childhood development (ECD) interventions from birth to entry into school are among the most cost-effective ways to improve outcomes for vulnerable and at-risk children. 

Through a multi-sector approach, we promote children’s cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, and physical development. We link ECD providers, child-supportive resources, and the community so that vulnerable children and families can access the services they need. 

An integral part of our ECD effort is community sensitization to improve support for children’s learning among parents, governments, and traditional leaders. We work with local partners and caregivers to promote awareness and skills in early childhood nutrition, stimulation, and nurturing care encompassing the first 1,000 days and beyond of a child’s life. 

We help ECD centers, government ministries, and other stakeholders expand their reach and improve service quality. We mobilize communities to establish and support ECD centers and train educators to lead interactive and learner-centered activities. We also build the capacity of local government partners to administer early-grade reading assessment and use the results to inform education policies and decisions.

A teacher helps young students with an art project as part of a early childhood development program. Photo by Robin Hammond.
Preschool and Early Childhood Development Centers

To support countries’ universal early childhood education policies, we partner with government entities to conduct initiatives that increase access to and quality of preschool service provision. We help educators and vulnerable communities provide responsive care and activities for early learning, including optimal nutrition of infants and young children and integrating psychosocial interventions to support early childhood health and development. We build the capacity of educators and trained community members to develop skills to deliver education aligned with the nurturing care approach that enables children to survive and thrive not just while they are in school, but for their entire lives.

Early Childhood Material Development

Research indicates that children who are exposed to high-quality learning opportunities in the first six years of life—globally accepted as critical development years—are more likely to remain in school; become economically productive and law-abiding adults; engage in family planning and healthy behaviors; and send their own children to school. We develop ECD curricula and accompanying materials to fill caregivers’ skills and knowledge gaps,  including building caregivers’ capacity to develop their children’s school readiness through discovery-learning engagements. These include play, reading, singing, and dancing—all critical components to raising inquisitive children who are ready to learn.



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