Early Childhood Development (ECD) shows a promising future as we continue providing academic courses for research and skill based capacity building. Thematic areas such as play and creativity, maternal wellbeing and ECD, parenting and emotional wellbeing of children with a major focus on ages 0 to 5 have emerged as a result continue to widen BIED’s research and service provisions. Notable to mention is BIED’s current role in building play centers – a one of a kind space for addressing learning with play. Similar to adolescent initiatives, BIED does find that its work in ECD providing opportunities for partnering with other organizations including the public sector to cater this unmet demand.

Building Blocks of Early Years Learning in Bangladesh

This project proposes to research and develop the models, materials, tools and human capital necessary to advocate and bring about systemic change to the state of early years education in Bangladesh. A major focus of this project is to learn and draw from experiences. The pilot project will establish 200 play centers in 7 areas across Bangladesh that will implement the 3 models of play- based early years learning by 2019. The ultimate goal is to scale up the project to the national level with the Government’s support after presenting evidence of the model’s success. The program works to realize the following objectives:

  1. Play based learning for ECD
  2. Community involvement
  3. Parent education
  4. Training and skill development for facilitators

The overall goal of the project is to stimulate a systemic change in the state of early years’ education in Bangladesh towards a greater role for learning and therapy through play and creative arts. The project is envisioned as a 5-year strategy at the end of which BIED intends to have established 3 age-specific early learning models that demonstrate to the Government the benefits of early year learning and how it can be provided at a low-cost. This is further supported with research and the building of professionals to support the growth of early years learning in Bangladesh. Through research, model development and capacity building, this project aims to demonstrate that early years learning can be provided to children across Bangladesh in way that is both effective in child development and cost efficient.

BRAC Play Lab Project

BRAC and the LEGO Foundation, in a three-year partnership, aim to promote the importance of learning through play for early childhood education in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda. Designed to emphasize the quality of learning as a hallmark of strong early childhood education, the low-cost, high-impact Play Lab project will reach more than 7,000 children, aged three to five, across the three countries. The pilot will also include training for young female adults as paraprofessional play leaders, sessions for 7,200 parents on the importance of play and the creation of 120 Play Labs by 2019.

Play Labs are spaces for children to engage in play. When used in tandem with a play-based curriculum, they help educators ensure children are learning while also fostering early childhood development. The Centre for Play at BIED in Bangladesh will play a key role in the designing of both the safe play spaces and low-cost learning materials for children in Bangladesh, as well as through consultation for Tanzania and Uganda. The planning and design process will include the participation of community members to ensure that play environments are created in homes and community hubs that lack play spaces. The joint project will also establish a global network of play-based learning experts to gather and assess international best practices, adapt and develop curriculum and materials, build staff capacity and advocate for children’s rights to access quality learning. To assure the quality of the spaces and age-appropriate effectiveness of the play materials, while also providing opportunity to innovate throughout the project, the collaboration will also spearhead research and help develop assessment tools to monitor and evaluate the Play Lab model.