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GCDG investigators’ Working Meeting on Scalable Early Childhood Indicators

Global interest in early childhood development has increased substantially in the past decade. This has led to growing demand from program implementers and researchers for simpler measures of child development which can be used at scale. These simpler measures have the potential to be used in planning and evaluating programs or interventions aimed at improving the health and development of infants and young children throughout the world. There are a number of efforts currently underway to provide guidance in this area by organizations such as the World Health Organization, Save the Children, UNICEF and USAID.

The Global Child Development Group hosted  the  ‘Global Child Development Group Indicators Meeting’  from April 14-16, 2014 in Kingston, Jamaica . The working meeting was supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation and  was attended by 14 international delegates which included lead investigators with cohorts with the necessary data and ECD experts . The delegates discussed the possibilities to assemble data from 13 cohorts covering 12,000 children  in an effort to developing indicators for ECD. By using data from existing cohorts with both early measures of development, height-for-age and socio-economic status (prior to age 3 years), and later measures of cognition and or language (age 5 and older) the goal of the analyses would be to identify whether items or combinations of items from developmental assessments obtained from 0-3 years are adequately robust predictors of later cognitive and behavioural measures. The group proposes to use this data-driven approach to determine which items could be used to create simpler measures which could be used at scale to monitor impact of programs and progress in ECD at national and sub-national levels.The major outcome expected from the meeting will be publication of key articles that promote integrated approaches for child development thereby providing a stronger scientific basis for advocacy.