UNESCO – Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (HECDI) Framework A technical guide

Early childhood is a period of tremendous growth. Extending from conception to the age of 8, early childhood experiences carve out pathways towards health and well-being that persist throughout life. Supporting early childhood development, especially for the most vulnerable children, requires coordinated action to ensure health care, adequate nutrition, quality education, support for parents and protection of children’s rights. Science clearly demonstrates that such holistic approaches greatly increase the chances that children will complete school, experience good physical and mental health and contribute positively to their societies. Several international conventions state that children have the right to environments that support their well-being comprehensively. At present, the status of young children is often measured using only a few indicators that address health, nutrition or access to pre-primary education (PPE). While these indicators are undeniably important, more comprehensive approaches to measurement are needed to ensure that children’s rights to holistic services are upheld. In pursuit of the overarching goal that all children reach their developmental potential, the Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (HECDI) Framework offers a set of targets, subtargets and indicators for the holistic monitoring of young children’s well-being at both the country and international levels. This proposed framework is a first step towards a global index that can be used to comprehensively describe the status of young children around the world. The HECDI Framework is intended to help spur the creation and widespread collection of indicators necessary for holistic assessment of young children’s well-being, by identifying targets consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Education for All (EFA) and suggesting indicators to help track progress, inform policies and guide practices in early childhood care and education (ECCE).1 The proposed framework reflects the views and perspectives of several organizations focused on supporting young children’s development. Overall, HECDI focuses on ensuring that each child achieves his or her developmental potential. In pursuit of that goal, the framework proposes four main targets for young children’s development, spanning health, nutrition, education, social protection, poverty and parental support: 1. Children survive and demonstrate age-appropriate development and learning. 2. Children experience cognitively stimulating, emotionally supportive home environments with adequate resources. 3. Children and families have access to quality programmes and services addressing health care, good nutrition, education and social protection. 4. Children’s rights are protected and upheld through the implementation of policies and programmes to support children and families. Table 1 below briefly outlines the key subtargets and proposed indicators associated with each of the four targets. Detailed descriptions are presented in Section 5 of this document.

Type:  Guide

Area:   Global

Language:  English