New institute launches to connect childcare experts across the world

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A new institute to drive the improvement of learning and care for babies, toddlers and young children has launched today.

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June O'Sullivan, chief executive of LEYF (far left) and Eunice Lumsden, head of early years at the University of Northampton, (far right) are among those behind the launch of the Institute for Early Years

The Institute for Early Years aims to improve practitioners’ understanding of child development and family support, along with connecting experts through a global learning platform.

It has been set up by independent consultant Sue Egersdorff, with the support of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), the University of Northampton and Angel Solutions, a company that provides software to schools and children’s centres.

A goal of the institute is to further support and develop growing evidence that investment in maternal and child health, good nutrition, sensitive parenting, high quality learning and development opportunities benefits society. It will do this by producing and supporting original research, publishing ‘innovative thinking’ and hosting events.

The institute will also support parents, families and childcare professionals to play a lead role in formulating policy at local, national and intentional levels.

sueMs Egersdorff (pictured) said, ‘What is crystal clear is the need globally to find new solutions to deal with the toxic threats facing babies, toddlers and young children – these are challenging issues affecting countries in different ways - poverty, inequality, weak physical health and wellbeing, neglect, violence, poor education and limited expectations.  The Institute for Early Years will bring practitioners together to bring their collective knowledge and experience to bear on these challenges by sharing practice and supporting each other to think differently and above all, to act in ways that improve every child’s life experiences.’

At the same time as the launch of the institute, delegates from around the world will convene at the United Nations Headquarters in New York today to campaign for Early Childhood Development to be at the heart of the United Nations' next global development goals post 2015.

The campaign, which the University of Northampton is a strong advocate of, was launched by Ivan Lewis, shadow secretary of state for international development and Dame Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, last year.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to pledge their support to the campaign.

Dr Eunice Lumsden, head of early years at the University of Northampton, said,  ‘We feel that early years education should be available for all children, led by aspirational and inspirational practitioners. The new United Nations Development Goals provide us with an opportunity to ensure that the best interests of babies, toddlers and young children globally are enshrined in a new vision for the future.’