The early years are a critical period for development of children’s brains and bodies and the cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, and motor skills they need to thrive in school and succeed later in life. Too often, poverty and its associated problems, such as poor health services, weak education systems and lack of parental knowledge, limit the support, care, and stimulation that children require for healthy development.
Early childhood programs are aimed at helping children get what they need to reach their potential. Designing and evaluating the impact of programs requires first understanding how to measure and track children’s development. This is the challenge. Measuring early childhood development in low- and middle-income countries requires trade-offs and choices that can be difficult to manage for even the most experienced researchers. A new toolkit released by the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund aims to help researchers and development practitioners understand how to assess early childhood development accurately and reliably.