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“Child-to-child approach” under ECD Programme of BRAC: Any change in knowledge and practice?

The Child-to-Child component of the ECD programme began in Sherpur Upazila, Bogra in January 2003 and was completed in December 2004. A brief and focused KAP survey was done to record benchmark information before the intervention began. This report presents findings from a follow-up survey carried out to assess the effects of intervention, and make recommendations for fine-tuning the programme in future during scaling up. For the follow-up survey, the baseline households grouped into three were re-visited and data were collected from the same adolescents, if present at the time of survey. The groups were: a) Treatment Area I: where regular ECD activities as well as ‘child-to-child’ activities were implemented, b) Treatment Area II: where only regular ECD activities were taking place and c) Treatment Area III: this served as Control area where no ECD intervention is taking place.

Children's access to pre-school education in Bangladesh

Using the Education Watch household survey database, this paper explores children’s access to preschool education in Bangladesh. Participation in pre-school education has been increasing in Bangladesh at the rate of 0.6% per year and the net enrolment rate was found to be 13.4% in 2005. Enrolment of over-aged children in pre-school education made the gross enrolment ratio as high as 30.5%. However, over half of the four to five year olds at school were actually enrolled in primary school and not in pre-school. Moreover, 71% of the four- to five-year group was out of school. Only a third of the four- to five-year-old children enrolled in schools had the opportunity to attend the English-medium kindergartens or NGO-run non-formal schools, both of which provide better quality pre-school education. Urban children, especially those with educated parents and from more privileged socio-economic backgrounds, were more likely to have access to pre-school education. The lack of a common pre-school curriculum seems to have created further inequity among children at this very early age. An educational policy targeting poor and socially disadvantaged children with support from both the state and current pre-school providers is urgently needed to provide four- to five-year-old children appropriate education for their needs.

Childhood Development: Child-to-child approach Baseline Survey 2003

In Bangladesh, programs for children up to five years have been directed to ensure their survival, physical growth and good health. There is no nationwide structured program that addresses the cognitive, emotional, and social development of young children, resulting in lost opportunities to develop full potential of the child during the early years. Taking this into consideration, the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program has been initiated in the current country program cycle (2001-2005) of the Government and UNICEF. One of the strategies is to accomplish this through "Child-to-child approach", a time honoured system by which older children is taking care of their younger siblings. The objective of the child-to-child approach is to provide adolescents with the knowledge and skills to interact creatively and effectively with the young children, and to develop skills of critical-thinking and problem solving.

A literacy intervention for preschool children in Bangladesh: the benefits of dialogic reading.

The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of a 4-week dialogic reading intervention with rural Bangladeshi preschoolers with the intention of increasing their expressive vocabulary. Eighty preschoolers randomly selected from five preschools participated in the program during four weeks in the summer of 2006. Their expressive vocabulary was tested on 170 challenging words before and after the program and compared with that ofcontrol children who participated in the regular language program. Both groups were read eight children's story books with illustrations, but the dialogic reading teacher was given a set of "wh" and definitional questions to enhance children's verbal participation during reading. Results confirmed that the mean vocabulary scores of dialogic program children increased from 26% to 54% whereas the control children remained at the same level. In conclusion, the dialogic reading program which can be tailored to suit the skills of paraprofessional teachers allows children to quickly improve their vocabulary with the help of challenging stories.

Playing with mathematics: a pilot intervention to develop basic mathematical skills among preschoolers in Bangladesh

The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of a 6-weeks mathematics intervention with rural Bangladeshi preschoolers with the intention of increasing their basic mathematics skills. Eighty preschoolers randomly selected from five preschools participated in the program during six weeks in the summer of 2006. Their mathematics skills on counting, patterns, shapes, measurement, sorting, comparing, and operations were tested on 77 items before and after the program and compared with that of control children who participated in the regular program. Both the groups attended daily 40- minute math classes over 6-weeks using a math bag to practice teacher introduced math concepts. The intervention group participated in math games while the control group did the same tasks in a more teacher-directed way.Results confirmed significantly greater achievement of math skills by the intervention children compared to the control group. The score of the intervention children increased from 24.74% to 59.69% while the control group increased from 29.73% to 42.56%. In conclusion, paraprofessional teachers with little training were able to implement activities that helped children learn big mathematical concepts.

Effectiveness of a mathematics program for preschoolers in rural Bangladesh

The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of a 9-month comprehensive math program for preschool children with the intention of increasing their math reasoning and skills. From 3 organizations operating preschools in Bangladesh, nine preschools were randomly selected to be in the Intervention group and 9 for the Control group. Twelve children were randomly selected from each preschool to participate in testing, though all participated in the program. A 6-unit program was adapted from an existing one, lesson plans created, and local materials developed. Teachers were trained and regularly supervised. Children in the control group participated in the regular math program offered by that organization. Children's math skills were tested before and after each unit on the skills relevant to that unit. An analysis of covariance on posttest scores, covarying pretest scores, child's age, sex, height for age, mother's education and family assets indicated that Intervention children doubled their scores on almost all tests while control children increased only slightly. The differences and effect sizes were highly significant. On a final 52-item cumulative test, intervention children obtained a mean of 82.7% while control children obtained a mean of 46.6%. The evidence from this evaluation is strong: children in the preschool years can acquire sophisticated math reasoning and operations skills given a challenging and stimulating program.

Effectiveness of a mathematics program for 3 to 4 year children in urban Bangladesh

The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of a short-term mathematics program for 3 to 4 year children with the intention of increasing their math reasoning and skills. Six child development centers in a slum setting in Dhaka were randomly selected to be the Intervention group and 6 centers in a different slum setting for the Control group. Ten children were randomly selected from each center to participate in testing, though all participated in the program. A short program was adapted from an existing one, lesson plans created, and local materials developed. Teachers were trained and regularly supervised. Children in the control group participated in the regular program offered by an organization named Phulki. Children's math skills were tested before and after the intervention. An analysis of covariance on posttest scores, covarying pretest scores, child's age, sex, height for age, mother's education and family assets indicated that Intervention children doubled their scores while control children increased only slightly. The differences and effect sizes were highly significant.

Effectiveness of a community-based child stimulation program in rural Bangladesh

Parenting programs are frequently offered to help promote practices that help children develop to their full potentials. In Bangladesh, these programs have entailed largely the transfer of knowledge to groups of mothers with young children. Frequently, the mothers acquire knowledge but do not translate it into behaviour. This study examined a behaviour-change strategy in a 5-session weekly program delivered to groups of mothers and their children 18-40 months of age. The strategy involved a demonstration by the peer educator followed by mothers' practicing the behaviour and receiving coaching. Mothers brought materials from home and practiced using responsive stimulation in the course of verbal and toy games. There were also discussions about the benefits of two-way stimulation. The pre-post intervention-control design allowed us to compare mothers who received the Responsive Stimulation program with those who received the Regular program. Results indicated that Responsive Stimulation mothers' scores on the HOME Inventory and their responsive conversations with their child while talking about pictures were significantly higher than the Regular group, controlling for baseline scores and sociodemographic variables. The benefits of this behaviour-change strategy and responsive stimulation are both discussed.

A National Case Study on Delivery of Early Childhood Services Bangladesh

The child as a focus of attention from development planners, political leaders and development activities emerged very slowly and finally captured a place among numerous pressing developmental needs of adult men and women in Bangladesh. Traditionally the Bangladesh society shows more concern for matters related to adult life compared to children’s childhood needs and care. Childhood, especially in poor, disadvantaged homes, slips into adulthood as early as 7/8 years of age when these children start taking responsibility of different domestic chores including looking after the younger siblings and working for earning income to help parents. However, child development activities started modestly just after Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 with the establishment of the ‘Shishu Academy’ (Children’s Academy) and adoption of a policy for the children. Presently, major government childhood service providers are: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare and Primary and Mass Education Division. They are addressing a number of diversified developmental needs of 0-8 years old children of the country.

A Expanding ECCE in Bangladesh: It Can Be Done

Early Childhood Care and Education is both a right in and of itself and a profitable investment in the human resources and the social capital of societies. This was one of the core messages of UNESCO's Education for All Global Monitoring Report of 2007. This message is well understood by policy makers and NGOs in Bangladesh today. Nobody needs to be convinced of the need to achieve EFA Goal One: expanding and improving comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. The fact that only a minority of children in Bangladesh actually have access to quality programmes is not a result of a lack of political will, but of tight fiscal constraints in a country that is battling to universalize and improve primary education.

Baseline Survey of Caregivers KAP on Early Childhood Development in Bangladesh

Early childhood development (ECD) is the cornerstone of human development. It is a continuous and individualized process of change in which a child learns to handle ever more complex levels of moving, thinking, speaking, feeling and relating to others. Development includes both physical growth and mental development. Physical growth refers primarily to the integrated growth of the human organs, while mental development refers to cognitive, social and emotional development. Children's development does not depend solely on their levels of access to food and health care. It is also critically influenced by the quality of care they receive and interventions made on their behalf, which promote their cognitive, emotional and social advances.

Early Childhood Development Project Formative Evaluation of School Readiness Initiative by Partner Agencies

The formative evaluation was conducted to assess the outcome of the school readiness initiative of the UNICEF assisted Early Childhood Development (ECD) project of Bangladesh Shishu Academy (BSA). This school readiness initiative consists of two elements of activities: (i) Play Group activities, popularly known as SBK (Shishu Bikash Karjokrom), for 4-5 years children; and (ii) the Preschool activities for 5-6 years children. A brief description of the ECD project and the school readiness initiative is provided below for convenience of presentation and understanding of the evaluation findings on the SBK (Play Group) and pre-school activities.

Formative Evaluation Study of School Readiness Programme in Chittagong Hill Tracts Districts

The Formative Evaluation of the school readiness programme in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) districts was carried out to assess how the programme is being implemented, employing its strategies and using the supports/assistance provided to it, to achieve its stated goals. Data for the assessment were collected through Classroom Observations at the sampled Para-centres and through in-depth interviews with the respondents drawn as samples from among people involved in the pre-school component of the ICDP.

Implementing Changes in the Preschool Classroom An Action-based Case-study July –October 2004

Plan International, is an international, humanitarian child centered development organization without religious, political and government affiliation. Plan works around 42 developing countries with the fundamental principal “children are at the heart of everything we do.” Plan Bangladesh, started its operations in Bangladesh in1994. Today Plan works in five districts (Dinajpur, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, and Gazipur) and Metropolitan City (Dhaka) with a commitment of reaching poor people deprived from their rights through a highly participatory process called Child Centered Community Development (CCCD), the core work process for Plan Programs in Bangladesh. Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is one of the key program package of Community Learning Program (CLP). Preschool interventions Plan started in 1997 following a curriculum developed by Early Childhood Development (ECD) Unit (a joint project of Plan Bangladesh and Save the Children-USA). In the year 2001 when ECD Unit evloished then Plan designed a curriculum for their own. After two years of running the preschools using the curriculum the evaluation took place and there were some strong recommendations in some specific areas for improving the quality of the program.

Evaluation of Early Childhood Parenting Programs of Plan Bangladesh

The synergistic effect of nutrition and psychosocial stimulation is now well accepted (Walker et al., 1991, 2000). This is most clearly demonstrated in the first three years of life when the child's brain is prepared to make its greatest gains in language acquisition and social-emotional development, but requires energy, proteins and micronutrients to consolidate learning. With 50% of children under-5 years in Bangladesh experiencing moderate to severe levels of malnutrition, and mothers largely illiterate and uninformed about the need for stimulation, there is concern that children may not be developing optimally. Without the necessary cognitive, language and social skills, children are less able to solve problems, cope with novelty, persist in overcoming obstacles, and actively engage in social interactions. They are less likely to benefit from schooling, and consequently achieve less productivity and health than would be possible with an education. To overcome the cycle of poverty and illiteracy, international and national organizations are developing guidelines and implementing programs to promote early childhood care and education (Evans, Myers, & Ilfeld, 2000). While a number of programs exist, few have been systematically evaluated. This report describes the evaluation of a parenting program for mothers of under-3 children implemented by Plan Bangladesh in three rural districts.

Evaluation of Early Childhood Preschool Programs of PLAN Bangladesh

PLAN Bangladesh has a series of programs designed to support children from birth to the end of elementary school. This report focuses on the preschool program for children of 5 years of age. The objectives of the research were: 1. to examine the impact of the preschool intervention on children and their mothers, and 2. to assess the method of implementation of preschool activities along with the relevance and appropriateness of materials and training of field-level implementers. To this end, 401 preschool children and matched controls from three sites were randomly selected and compared on indicators of cognitive, social and physical development. They were administered four cognitive tests to assess their vocabulary, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and school readiness skills. Social development was observed in the context of play. Physical growth was examined in terms of nutritional status, disabilities, and preventive health practices. Mothers were interviewed for information on the family's socio-demographic status, her decision-making power, and knowledge about her child's needs and child development more generally. Finally, the quality of the preschool program was assessed using the international Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale and a South Asian version of the scale along with more detailed observations of materials and child-adult communication. Teachers, supervisors, and PLAN staff were interviewed to gather information on the curriculum, teacher guides and training.

Evaluation of the ShishuBikash Kendra Component of the Early Childhood Program of Plan Bangladesh

There is general consensus, in Bangladesh as elsewhere, that young children need early stimulation and social contact for mental and social development. One way to accomplish this is early group care and education. Plan Bangladesh has an innovative early childhood program for children from 0 to 8 years and beyond, that includes group care for children of 3 and 4 years. This component is sandwiched between parenting sessions for mothers of children in the 0 to 3 year age range and a preschool component for children of 5 years. The Shishu Bikash Kendra program for children of 3 and 4 years aims to provide stimulation and group activities to foster mental and social development. To this end, it arranges an activity center on the veranda of a village home where 8 to 15 children, led by two trained mothers, spend 2 morning hours, 5 days a week. Four mothers in each village are trained four days a year, and receive monthly 2-day refresher courses; in pairs they take turns conducting the child sessions. Parenting sessions on child development, hygiene and nutrition are offered monthly to parents.

Follow-up of Children who attended PLAN Preschool Programs in Grade 1

The aim of preschool is to prepare children, socially and cognitively, for the demands of formal schooling. Children who attend preschool are required to interact and communicate with other children and adults; they have experience of being away from their family and placed in a classroom situation. They are also introduced to important concepts in core subjects and benefit from the opportunity to play with other children using play and learning materials that may not be available at home. These experiences should smooth the transition to formal schooling. Studies in developing countries have shown that children with preschool experience perform better in Grade 1 compared to children without preschool experience. In Nepal and Myanmar preschool children were more likely to start school, were better equipped socially and academically, had better attendance rates and did better in yearend examinations (Save the Children, 2004). In Botswana, Taiwo and Tyolo (2002) interviewed Grade 1 children on key skills relating to Math, English and Science - expert teachers rated their performance. They found that children who had attended preschools significantly outperformed those who had not. The objective of this research was evaluate whether children in Grade 1 who had attended PLAN preschools performed better, according to teacher ratings of children’s academic performance, work habits and social behaviour, than children who did not have preschool experience.

Responsive complementary feeding in rural Bangladesh

It is now widely recognized that malnutrition can partly be attributed to caregiver–child interaction during feeding episodes. Current conceptual frameworks emphasize the importance of responsiveness (including active and social behaviour), psychomotor abilities of the child to self-feed, and a non-distracting feeding environment. The present observational study had three main objectives: (1) to define operationally key terms such as responsive and active feeding and observe their frequency in a rural Bangladesh sample; (2) to examine whether self-feeding, responsive and active behaviours of the mother and child varied with child’s age and amounts eaten; and (3) to determine associations between mother and child behaviours. Fifty-four mother–child pairs were observed during one feeding episode and behaviours were coded for 5 categories, namely self-feeding, responsive, active, social and distracting behaviours. Children were between 8 and 24 months of age. Results indicated that the five behaviours could be observed and reliably coded.

Formative Evaluation to assess outcome of Caregiver’s Education by Trained Front Line Workers (FLW)

Early Childhood Development (ECD) in brief refers to unfolding the full potential of child’s emotional, cognitive, social and linguistic skills. Focus of programs for children during early childhood period is given primarily on survival and physical growth with very little attention on ECD. To overcome this situation, the ECD project was launched by The Bangladesh Shishu Academy, under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWCA) as part of the current five-year (2001-2005) Country Program of Cooperation between the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) and UNICEF. The project aims to enhance the capacity of caregivers to support the mental development of children from conception to five years of age. The project has four main components or sub-projects: Advocacy, Social Mobilization and Communication; Caregiver’s Education on ECD; Research and Innovation; and Networking and Capacity Building of Partners.