by María Caridad Araujo
Lead Specialist, Social Protection and Health Division
Most of you already know it: early childhood programs make for a smart investment. In fact, it is estimated that every dollar invested in early childhood development services, meaning in children who are up to 3 years old, provides a return on investment of 4 to 9 dollars. Now, return of investment is highly dependent on a critical variable: quality.
It is during the first three years of life that essential neuronal connections occur, shaping the brain architecture and laying the foundation for cognitive, social, and emotional capacities. Children’s early experiences shape their neuronal circuits, and therefore, what they do or do not do during this time will be reflected later in their lives.
Talking about quality in early childhood programs has become relevant among those who research, formulate, and implement early childhood development interventions and policies. A clear example of this ongoing conversation is the first edition of the new online course: “Effective policies in early childhood development”, offered by the IDB beginning July 19th (The first version of the course is only available in Spanish).
In this course, more than 30 international experts will share their views on the design, implementation and evaluation of early childhood development programs and services, emphasizing on the need for quality.
Throughout 6 weeks, course participants will reflect upon the scientific evidence behind early childhood development programs, the role of family and communities as the children’s growth environment, as well as some of the systems and policies connected to early childhood development that have been implemented in Latin America and the Caribbean. This free course will also provide tools to identify, promote, and implement interventions that take into consideration the needs and opportunities present in each country. Successful and efficient early childhood development interventions are cost-effective, because they lead to improvements in early childhood and to a more equal and productive society.
Join us in this exciting endeavor! This an opportunity to update your knowledge and have a dialogue about this highly relevant issue for our region. The course is especially designed for policy makers and administrators, but anyone can join.