Childhood Education Innovations

Inspiration for transforming education

Childhood Education: Innovations provides unique, stimulating information about educational programs around the world. Articles explore solutions to specific challenges affecting schools, teachers, and learners and showcase the most recent ideas and innovations being developed and implemented to address those challenges. Readers will find inspiration and guidance for transforming education to better serve children and society. Published 6 times a year, CE Innovations provides a window into the work being done to bring quality, equitable education to all children.

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CONTENTS
January/February 2021


“Going to School With the Solar Cow”
The Solar Cow, which was listed as one of the top 100 inventions of 2019 by Time magazine, allows students to charge portable batteries while they study and take the batteries home to their parents at the end of the school day. This acts as a tangible incentive for low-income families to send their children to school instead of having them work to boost household incomes.

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” ‘We Are Building a Nation’: CAMFED’s Learner Guide program is transforming prospects for young people”
Operating beyond the classroom, Learner Guides create an important home-school link. Because they grew up in the communities they serve, they know how to bring the most “invisible” children to the attention of authorities. They are connected with local authorities, such as social services, district education authorities, and the police, as well as with parent groups, which they rally in support of vulnerable students.


“Student Voice: Photography, COVID-19, and our collective memory”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Oneness Project launched a student photography contest, Document Your Place on the Planet. For the past 15 years, the Project has used the power of photography for student learning, highlighting global issues through professional photographers. The aim of this contest was to challenge students to pick up the cameras themselves to reflect on their own lives. How might photography encourage students to become active citizens and witnesses to our rapidly changing world?

“Dost Education: A friend along the education journey”
Dost Education has married the concept of “behavior nudges” to the simplest technology available in most homes—a mobile phone. Through short podcasts via daily automated phone calls, they reach parents right where they are with short, informational nuggets to support play-based early learning at home. These calls cover fun activities, culturally relevant tips, and ideas that make early learning extremely simple, accessible, and fun for parents.

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“Brain Fitness for School Children: BrainFutures champions neuroscience-based interventions”
A key measure of the neurocognitive capacities foundational to all learning is called executive function (EF). Research has found that EF is a powerful indicator of not only academic performance and outcomes, but also life outcomes such as career and wealth, relationships, health, well-being, and even public safety. Unfortunately, when schools take too limited an approach and focus mainly on content and achievement scores, these underlying EF cognitive capacities of children to self-regulate, process, integrate, and learn are often unknowingly ignored by well-meaning educators.

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“Preschool in CITIES: Learning in Da Nang, Vietnam”
The CITIES project runs in the Son Tra District, Da Nang City, Vietnam, where a fast increasing population and lack of capacity in public services has led to a drastic growth in the number of private preschools and home-based groups. The direct beneficiaries of the project are the teachers and school leaders of eight pilot preschools (six public, two non-public) and the government officials of the Da Nang DOET and Bureaus of Education and Training (BOET). In the first year, the project focused on identifying key barriers to learning that are typical for vulnerable boys and girls in an urban context, and also implemented innovative ways of mitigating some of those barriers.


“Culturally Responsive Early Childhood Education: A catalyst for change in Rwanda”
The authors of this article entered into an investigation into how Rwandan teachers marry their cultural practices to developmentally appropriate practice. Using field notes and documents they collected, they explored two major questions:
1. What Rwandan cultural practices (language, traditions, natural resources) are honored in the ECE program at Bright School?
2. How do Rwandan teachers adapt DAP into the Rwandan cultural practices?


“Bridging the Gap Between Resources and Marginalized Families”
In the United States, students from marginalized backgrounds historically have had gaps in their access to education, thus affecting success and overall achievement. In an attempt to address these educational gaps, researchers, school districts, and government officials have been working to provide resources for those in communities with low economic opportunities, with low levels of educational attainment, and overall defined as being marginalized. However, it is well documented that many in these communities either distrust the “system” and do not engage with these resources or simply do not know about them.


“Integrating Sustainable Development Goals With Early Childhood Learning in Indonesia”
In 2018, Sekolahku-MySchool (SMS) accepted a request from the Smithsonian Institute in the United States to trial a Pilot Sustainable Food Program in the process of being written especially for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This 6-month-long program focused and intensified long-established Healthy Eating activities at SMS and led to the formal inclusion of the SDGs as relevant to their program.


“Designing Digital Content for Children: Understanding children’s capabilities”
The authors have been studying how children interact with smartphones and other touchscreen-based devices. They think that knowing the capabilities of children at different ages will be helpful in developing videos, apps, and other digital resources for them, and have identified five important skills that children need to use apps developed for them. They then experimentally determined how children acquire these skills between 2 and 8 years of age.

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