What matters most for early childhood development : a framework paper

Around the world, inequalities in child development are stark. These inequalities often begin before birth and expand during a child’s early years. A child’s earliest years present a window of opportunity to address inequality and improve outcomes later in life. The potential benefits from supporting early childhood development (ECD) include: improved cognitive development, better schooling outcomes, and increased productivity in life. In response to the convincing evidence on the benefits of investing in young children, and demand from client countries, the World Bank is increasingly supporting ECD around the world. To guide the implementation of the Bank’s education strategy 2020 and achieve the goal of learning for all, the human development network has launched systems approach for better education results (SABER) to help countries systematically examine education policies. Despite the manifold benefits of investing in ECD, and government interest in promoting ECD, the policy environment in many countries remains deeply inadequate to ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve full potential. The SABER-ECD framework utilizes a comparable and comprehensive approach to multisectoral data collection and analysis. This information will assist client countries to develop country-specific roadmaps and improve ECD policies to ensure that all children have equal opportunity to succeed in life. This paper provides the evidence base and a present framework for analyzing ECD policies and programs cross-nationally. The paper is organized as follows: section one gives introduction. Section two presents a brief overview of ECD and the rationale for investment in ECD. Section three presents the SABER-ECD analytical framework and describes the identified three key policy goals of effective ECD systems. Section four reviews the literature and provides the evidence base on what matters most for ECD policies. Section five briefly details efforts to link SABER-ECD with related World Bank initiatives and those led by other institutions engaged in similar work. In section six, the methodology that will be used to conduct a SABER-ECD analysis in participating countries is described, including the data collection process, tools, and deliverables

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