The GLOBAL ECD MOOC started FEBRUARY 27, 2017!

We’re excited to announce the launch of The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development, the newest course from the UN Sustainable Development Network’s Online Education Initiative – the SDG Academy.

The course is free and accessible to all. Registration is now open and the course will run for eight weeks, starting February 27th. Registration and enrollment are possible until the end of the course, the week of April 17, as all course videos and materials will be made available to those who enroll.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Co-Director of the NYU Global TIES for Children Center, is the primary faculty member teaching the course; others are Prof. Catherine Tamis-LeMonda of NYU Steinhardt Applied Psychology, Jack Shonkoff, MD (Director, Harvard Center on the Developing Child) and Prof. Aisha Yousafzai (Harvard Chan School of Public Health). Dr. Pia Britto, Chief of Early Childhood Development for UNICEF is featured in the last week’s final module. The syllabus is linked here.

Shakira’s trailer for the course is at:

Enrollment for the course is at:

Course Overview:

The course covers the science behind early childhood, the state of the world’s children, and policies and programs from countries around the world that are working to enable all children to reach their full potential. Course participants will explore everything from the development of the brain and children’s acquisition of basic cognitive and social-emotional skills to examples of early childhood programs and policies from around the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia and East Asia, Europe, and North America. The goal is to place an introduction to programs and policies for children within the broader context of societal development as reflected in the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Instructor Bios:

Displaying Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at New York University Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU. He is Co-Director, with Larry Aber, of the Global TIES for Children Center at NYU. He is a community and developmental psychologist who studies the effects of public policies and programs related to immigration, early childhood, and poverty reduction on children’s development in low- and middle-income countries and in the United States. Since 2013 he has co-chaired the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Thematic Network on Early Childhood Development and Education and has led SDSN’s work in Early Childhood Development. He serves on the Boards of the Russell Sage Foundation and the Foundation for Child Development, and on the advisory boards of the Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Program and the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report.

Displaying Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently serves as chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, a group of distinguished scholars whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting young children, and chairs the JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new knowledge and measurement capacity to assess the biological, bio-behavioral, and health consequences of excessive stress system activation. In 2011, Dr. Shonkoff launched Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral collaboration among researchers, practitioners, policymakers, investors, and experts in systems change who are committed to developing more effective intervention strategies to catalyze breakthrough impacts on the development and health of young children and families experiencing significant adversity.

Displaying Catherine Tamis-LeMonda is Professor of Applied Psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development. Her research is focused on infant and toddler learning and development among diverse populations in the United States and in Europe, Central Asia and East Asia. Her research considers the development and contexts of young children’s language and communication, object play, cognition, motor skills, gender identity, emotion regulation, and social understanding, and the long term implications of early emerging skills for children’s developmental trajectories. She investigates how skills in different domains reciprocally affect one another and snowball over time (that is, the theoretical construct of “developmental cascades”), and examines the role of socio-cultural context on early development. A core emphasis of this research is on the quality of mothers’ and fathers’ interactions with children –in particular their contingent responsiveness and richness of child-directed language – in relation to children’s development and, conversely, how emerging communicative skills in children influence their everyday learning experiences and interactions with parents.

Displaying Aisha Yousafzai is Associate Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her work focuses on developing new interventions and approaches to promote early child development with a particular interest in how to strengthen child and caregiving related outcomes through existing health, nutrition and education systems; understanding the implementation structures and processes for early childhood interventions to achieve sustainable impact at-scale; and promoting capacity development in local communities, services and systems for the effective delivery of interventions to promote early child development. She has extensive experience in evaluating early childhood interventions in South Asia, East Africa, and in Central and Eastern Europe. Dr. Yousafzai has directed the Pakistan Early Child Development Scale-Up (PEDS) trial, a cluster randomized controlled trial evaluating responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions to strengthen early child development and growth outcomes. The PEDS trial cohort is currently being followed-up at age 8 years old to investigate early intervention effects at school age.

Guest Speaker, Week 8

Displaying Dr. Pia Britto joined UNICEF in 2014 as Chief of Early Childhood Development, bringing with her many years of expertise in early childhood policy and programs. Prior to joining UNICEF she was an Assistant Professor at Yale University and is internationally renowned for her work on developing, implementing and evaluating early childhood programs and policies around the world. This includes providing evidence for the role of governance and finance in national systems in achieving equity; developing models for quality early childhood services; promoting women’s economic empowerment, and the role of parents and caregivers. Dr Britto has been the recipient of various awards and grants; has published articles, books and reports; and made numerous presentations at both academic and non-academic conferences and seminars. She obtained her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University.

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