Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: evidence brief

This paper summarises findings from the rigorous literature review, Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries. It provides an overview of key evidence to assist policy-makers and researchers in assessing the research in this field. Policy-makers should, of course, carefully consider their own specific context. Among the key findings are: 1) a large, high-quality evidence base shows that early childhood development (ECD) interventions focusing on (i) parental support; (ii) early stimulation and education; (iii) nutrition and health; (iv) income supplementation; and (v) comprehensive and integrated programmes have positive effects on children’s cognitive development; 2) the largest effects are associated with comprehensive programmes; 3) parent-focused interventions are most effective when both the child and parent are involved and; 4) using well-qualified early childhood educators and community health workers lead to better cognitive outcomes for children across programmes.


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