The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development

The life of a child in their early years impacts their entire life – and all of society. How do we ensure children the world over are supported in their development from birth?


This course is self-paced – you can enroll immediately and complete the course materials at any time before August 31, 2021.

What does a successful early childhood care program look like? How has a child’s brain developed at the age of 3? How does nutrition impact the future well-being of a child into adulthood?

Learn the answers to these questions and more in The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development, an 8-module massive open online course. With leading experts in the field – hailing from Harvard University, New York University and UNICEF, among other institutions – we’ll explore how neuroscience, sociology, anthropology and other studies have influenced our understanding of early childhood development.


  • Pre-recorded lectures
  • Readings
  • Quizzes and final exam
  • Discussion forum

Lead Faculty

  • Faculty ImageHirokazu Yoshikawa New York University
  • Faculty ImageCatherine Tamis-LeMonda New York University
  • Faculty ImageJack Shonkoff Harvard University
  • Faculty ImageAisha Yousafzai Harvard University

This course is for

Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students in international development, teaching, nursing and medicine who are interested in the key concepts and practices in early childhood development

Teachers, healthcare professionals and other practitioners interested in the societal and biological factors impacting the children they support

Sustainable development practitioners who want to understand the lifecycle of needs and support necessary to help children globally, including those who work for international aid organizations and nonprofits in the areas of poverty, nutrition and education


Course logistics and requirements

This course is self-paced. All course components are available now and can be completed at any time that is convenient for the students. Please note that this course is not facilitated by a course team. We encourage students to engage with one another via the discussion forum. Any specific questions can be sent to the SDG Academy team at


Students who successfully complete the course will be eligible to purchase a verified certificate signed by the course instructors.


Module 1: Introduction 1.1

Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development 1.2

The State of the World’s Children 1.3

How Brain Architecture Develops 1.4

The Impact of Adversity & Toxic Stress 1.5

Resilience & How to Foster It

Module 2: Child Development: Prenatal to Age 3 2.1

Development in Culture & Context 2.2

Physical Development 2.3

Cognitive Development and Perception 2.4

Language Development 2.5

Social Development 2.6

Emotional Development & Temperament

Module 3: Child Development: Ages 3 to 8 3.1

Physical Development 3.2

Cognitive Development & Executive Function 3.3

Language 3.4

Socio-emotional Development

Module 4: Tour of ECD Programs and Sectors Part I 4.1

Introduction to Multi-sector Aspects 4.2

Health Programs 4.3

Nutrition & Parenting Programs

Module 5: Tour of ECD Programs and Sectors Part 2 5.1

Social Protection Programs 5.2

Early Care & Education Programs 5.3

Child Protection Programs

Module 6: Communities and Situations of Conflict and Migration 6.1

Uganda Case Study 6.2

Community Based Programs 6.3

Conflict & Migration

Module 7: From Programs to Policies 7.1

How is Policy Created? 7.2

Quality, Governance & Sustainability 7.3

Financing ECD Policies

Module 8: The Future: Innovations and Growth 8.1

Innovation in ECD 8.2

Innovation from Around the World 8.3

Conclusion: The Future of ECD

Trả lời

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