Systems Thinking for Early Childhood Development

The Systems Thinking initiative is a partnership between ECDAN and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It aims to integrate systems thinking approaches in the field of child development. 


Early childhood development (ECD) is inherently complex and intersectoral. Children’s early development is influenced by a variety of factors, such as access to quality health care, nutrition, responsive caregiving and stimulation, safe and secure home environments, early education, caregiver well-being, and development policies. Traditionally, the ECD field employs a single-point intervention approach that does not recognize the systemic factors that impact child development and is thus insufficient to address inequity and promote healthy development of children living in vulnerable environments at scale. 

Systems thinking holds the potential to accelerate ECD at scale equitably and sustainably. Broadly speaking, systems thinking aims to improve understanding of a whole—its parts, its interactions, the interconnectedness between components, and the interdependencies. However, the systems-thinking approach has been notably lacking within the global dialogue around the scaling up and promotion of ECD programs.

Learn more about the Systems Thinking for ECD Masterclass Series

From April 23 to May 2, 2024

What is Systems Thinking for ECD

The Systems Thinking for Early Childhood Development initiative, a partnership between ECDAN and Harvard University with support from Porticus, aims to integrate systems-thinking approaches in the field of child development to support the scaling of interventions sustainably and equitably. To achieve this, the systems team is engaged in efforts to advance the state of knowledge and practice, build capacity, and amplify advocacy messages in the field by facilitating learning exchanges and collaboration, hosting dialogues and learning events, producing global knowledge products, and working closely with local partners to test systems solutions. The key target audience includes policymakers, program designers and implementers, researchers, donors, and advocates. The initiative has adopted a phased approach across the following workstreams:

Events & Webinars

Upcoming Events
Tue 28
Jun 11

Related Content

No posts found!