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. **** 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. Expert affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.
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