The First 2000 Days Network acts as a catalyst for linking, aligning and leveraging efforts in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) system to enable collective action toward improving ECD outcomes.
The Network does not have direct program and service delivery to families and children. Rather, we focus on inter-organizational capacity and systems change. We firmly believe there is a gap in the sector around linking, aligning and leveraging existing programs and services to reduce duplication, decrease inefficiencies, guide quality collaboration, and improve ECD outcomes by driving for continuous quality improvement at the individual, program & service, organizational and system levels. The Network exists to build the capacity in the sector to do this.
To this end, we are currently running a second pilot of a capacity-building initiative, funded by the Calgary Foundation, that focuses on a common shared measure of protective factors for family and child well-being with a cohort of agencies in Calgary. This initiative will allow the Network to prove our Theory of Change and demonstrate how to embed continuous quality improvements at the program and agency level, but also improvements on how the agencies work together to contribute to a healthier early childhood development system.
A Systemic Approach
It is important to note that the First 2000 Days Network takes a systemic approach to understanding Early Childhood Development (ECD) and we recognize the importance of supporting ECD along a spectrum – from child and caregiver supports, all the way to an integrated ECD system. We do not see quality ECD resulting only in ‘school readiness’, but more broadly as the development of wise, responsible, resourceful children and families.
We know that many individuals, groups and organizations across our city are working hard to give children the opportunities they need to reach their potential. We also know that many young children in our city continue to struggle in spite of these efforts. How might we work, share and learn together to improve the landscape of early childhood development in our city?
Part of the Network’s function is to guide the Network’s development based on the successes and failures of the past, and to recognize the work being done by so many in our communities to advance Early Childhood Development. The opportunity ahead is to increase alignment and impact of those efforts.