4 Cornerstones

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With the release of The 2007 Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Strong Foundations the Consultative Group convened a special session at the 2006 Annual Consultation to begin to answer the question: what programs and policies should be in place to help assure the early development of children?

Participants from all regions of the world contributed to the development of 4 Cornerstones, or key messages about  early childhood development.  Since we know that there is no magic age or program, the Cornerstones are meant to reflect the developmental  spectrum of early childhood from prenatal through the early primary grades. Moreover, given that investments in early childhood vary tremendously across regions, the Cornerstones are meant to be adapted to the particular needs and issues emerging at the country and community level.  Various partners are currently using the Cornerstones frameworks to guide strategies for their ECD work, frame network activities and contribute to advocacy documents.

In using these key messages, particularly when helping to develop a specific policy agenda, questions to be considered include:

  • What do these statements mean at different levels i.e. for community, country or region?
  • Where is there progress? What areas need the most improvements?
  • How can the 4 Cornerstones be used to raise public awareness and to gain more consensus around a policy agenda? Where would one start? Which area needs the most attention?
  • Given the the various contexts – global, regional, national and local,  what messages are missing? What other goals are important ?
  • How can these messages be used to help build the capacity of the field of early childhood to take action on behalf of young children?
  • How can these key messages be used with policymakers? Media? Other new champions for young children?
  • What special events can be planned throughout the year that can highlight promising initiatives around each message?

Cornerstone Working Groups


“First Steps” Video Series, highlights the 4 Cornerstones in three countries, Brazil, Uganda and Moldova
 (Aired on BBC, World News July 2008.)