Martin Woodhead, Sally Grantham-McGregor and Sarah Klaus on Early Childhood Development

The HEART Topic Guide on Early Childhood Development (ECD) offers brief summaries of key research, evaluations and case studies, as well as links to more specialist resources relevant to this vision for ECD. It draws on a very broad range of published research and policy studies, spanning health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); social protection; and education. It includes experimental trials of innovative programmes as well as policy reports on systemic reform.

This video features Martin Woodhead, lead author of the Topic Guide and Emeritus Professor from the Open University. He is also affiliated with ‘Young Lives‘, Oxford University and a trustee of UNICEF UK. Also interviewed are Sally Grantham-McGregor from the Institute of Child Health, University College London, who also worked at the University of the West Indies for 35 years; and Sarah Klaus, Director of the Early Childhood programme at the Open Society Foundations. Martin, Sally and Sarah outline the key points of the ECD Topic Guide and talk about their work, how approaches to research and funding for ECD have developed, challenges such as affordability and the evidence gaps in the field.

Early childhood development (ECD) has become a priority for research, policy and programming, at national and global level, with increasing recognition of the interconnections between a nation’s development goals and the quality of services for all young girls and boys, and their families. The term ‘ECD’ is increasingly being used to reflect the evidence that young children’s survival, health, care and learning involves interconnected and dynamic growth processes from well before the infant is born through into their early school years. ECD is thus a broad and complex field, covering multiple policy sectors, and diverse research traditions, but with the aspirations of constructing more inter‐sectoral, and more integrated models of services delivery.

The ECD Topic Guide offers brief summaries of key research, evaluations and case studies, as well aslinksto more specialist resourcesrelevant to this vision for ECD. It draws on a very broad range of published research and policy studies, spanning health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); social protection; and education. It includes experimental trials of innovative programmes as well as policy reports on systemic reform.

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The hashtag #ECD4dev can be used to join in the conversation with others who have accessed the guide. You can follow us at @HEART_RES.

Relevant resources

  • Sally Grantham-McGregor on early childhood development – In this video, Prof. Grantham-McGregor discusses the importance of early childhood development. She argues that the main reasons for a child not reaching his or her full potential are partly nutritional, party health related and partly due to psychosocial stimulation or the quality of the home environment.
  • Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: A rigorous literature review – This rigorous literature review focused on early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries. It aimed to review existing evidence on the review topic to inform programme design and policy making undertaken by DFID, other agencies and researchers and  identify critical evidence gaps to guide the development of future research programmes.

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