A growing number of studies point to the importance of early childhood intervention for fulfilling childhood development potential. The critical period before age three is considered to be a crucial “window”, during which interventions designed to improve child development can have significant and lasting effects, even into adulthood. Moreover, intervention during this time period is considered to be the most cost-effective from a policy perspective.
This project seeks to explore the most cost-effective interventions and associated implementation protocols to help to young babies and children living in rural China to reach their full developmental potentials. To do so, we propose to conduct a large-scale randomized controlled trial to measure the impact of a Comprehensive Early Childhood Development (CECD) intervention on parental knowledge, attitude, behavior and, most importantly, on child development outcomes.
We plan to work together with social institutions and local government, empower them with training sessions so that they can serve as competent CECD service providers (i.e. parenting instructors), and make up for the commercial and social deficiencies in rural areas. The parenting instructors will visit treatment group during weekly home visiting, demonstrate and guide these parents (caregivers) how to play and interact with the babies to help the development of cognition, language, motor and social emotion by using the week-by-week parenting curriculum and toys (or picture books).