Measurement of Early Childhood Development and Learning under the Sustainable Development Goals

Article published in the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities Volume 17, 2016 - Issue 4: Investing in Early Childhood Development. Published abstract: "Children’s early development serves as the foundation for later health, learning and well-being. The inclusion of early childhood development (ECD) in the Sustainable Development Goals implies that countries must report on the percentage of children under 5 years of age who are “developmentally on track.” This note briefly reflects on the history of global ECD goals and their measurement and outlines the challenge ahead: creating a workable strategy for ECD measurement that balances the need for national relevance with globally comparable data. The global variation in the timing and nature of early childhood skills acquisition presents an important opportunity as countries set their own standards for what it means to be developmentally on track. Country-driven measurement and standard setting, derived from measurement approaches that meet international expectations for quality, can have an important influence on policy and practice. Countries can measure the development of their youngest citizens in a way that is most relevant and useful to them, so that they may use those data to ensure that all children have the opportunity to fulfill their potential."

Early childhood development coming of age: science through the life course

Article published in the journal The Lancet Early Childhood Development Series. Published Abstract: "Early childhood development programmes vary in coordination and quality, with inadequate and inequitable access, especially for children younger than 3 years. New estimates, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty, indicate that 250 million children (43%) younger than 5 years in low-income and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. There is therefore an urgent need to increase multisectoral coverage of quality programming that incorporates health, nutrition, security and safety, responsive caregiving, and early learning. Equitable early childhood policies and programmes are crucial for meeting Sustainable Development Goals, and for children to develop the intellectual skills, creativity, and wellbeing required to become healthy and productive adults. In this paper, the first in a three part Series on early childhood development, we examine recent scientific progress and global commitments to early childhood development. Research, programmes, and policies have advanced substantially since 2000, with new neuroscientific evidence linking early adversity and nurturing care with brain development and function throughout the life course."