An introduction to the course The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development. This course is about children in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. Children arguably have the most at stake in the changes that will result from the SDGs, and will be the generation to support the future of sustainable development. What does child development, particularly the period of development for the prenatal period to age 8, look like in different societal and cultural contexts? This course looks at programs and policies that support human development during this period, as well as research on how children develop (including neuroscience and the science of culture and context) and research on program implementation and impact. ECD is unique because it is when brain development is most rapid, when humans are most sensitive to environmental influence. and when the foundations of lifelong health, learning, and behavior are laid out. Throughout this course, connections will be made between ECD and issues of poverty and inequality; issues of health and mental health; the field of education; policies concerned with social protection; and crises with migration and conflict, among others.
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