Nurturing children’s development

Stunting affects 149 million children under 5, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. The UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub research project investigates the multiple drivers of stunting in India, Indonesia and Senegal, to inform evidence-based interventions supporting child development.

Current research highlights the importance of children’s learning environments to nurture their growth and development. Stunting is best tackled when nutrition and psychosocial interventions (i.e. interventions that influence how caregivers interact with children) are combined. In order to identify effective routes for large-scale intervention, it is fundamental to profile the educational environments that children under five experience. This seminar will present the work led by the Cognition and Education workstream to profile early childhood education provision in India and Senegal.

We first presented how we reviewed India and Senegal’s early childhood education system via a documentary analysis. We shared an infographic that can be used by fellow researchers, policy stakeholders and professionals to profile early childhood education in other countries. We then heard from the research leads in India and Senegal who have adapted and piloted a classroom observation grid (the Measuring Early Learning Environments – MELE) to measure key characteristics of classroom environments and educational quality in their respective countries. We believe our work has the potential to inform our progress towards the global objective of ensuring education quality for all (UN Sustainable Development Goal 4).



Professor Lynn Ang, Department of Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education, Education and Cognition lead. Lynn Ang is a Professor of Early Childhood. Her research interests include the interdisciplinary fields of early childhood and international development and early childhood across cultures, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Lynn is interested in the social, cultural and policy influences on children’s development and early learning in a range of formal and informal contexts such as preschool and home-based settings. Her research centres on the early years curriculum, international early years policy, and issues of diversity and inequality in conflict-affected fragile states. Twitter: @L_Ang1

Professor Julie Dockrell (PI), UCL Institute of Education, Education and Cognition leads. Julie Dockrell is a Professor of Psychology and Special Needs, qualified as a clinical and educational psychologist. Her primary research interests are in development patterns and how cognitive factors impact children’s learning, interactions and attainments. A central theme in this research has been the application of evidence-based research and evaluating interventions to support children’s learning in educational settings. Twitter: @IOE_London

Dr Bernie Munoz. Principal Investigator, UCL Institute of Education. Bernie obtained a BSc in Psychology, School of Psychology, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile and studied a MA in ICT in Education (Institute of Education, UCL) in 2002, funded by Chevening Scholarship for global future leaders. After some years of working back in Chile at the school level, academia, and the public sector as a Researcher and Consultant in assessment in education, she secured funding for studying a PhD, School of Education, University of Bristol, awarded in 2013. After her PhD, she worked as a Research Associate on several research projects at University of Bristol. In 2016 she obtained a ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Postdoctoral Fellowship, and in 2018 moved to her current position as a Research Fellow in Education at the IOE. Twitter: @IOE_London

Dr Jessica Massonnie, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology and Human Development and the Department of Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education Team. Jessica’s work focuses on understanding how we can best help children thrive by considering the influence of the home and classroom environments on their learning and development. She is investigating both the social and physical (e.g. noise) factors influencing children’s development, adopting a cross-cultural perspective within the Action Against Stunting research project. Twitter: @jess_masso

Professor Moustapha Ndiaye, Education and Cognition theme lead, Senegalese Team. Moustapha Ndiaye is Professor of Pediatric neurology at Cheikh Anta DIOP University (Senegal). His primary subjects of research are epilepsy, cerebral palsy and childhood educational problems.

Prof Dr Sylvia Fernandez-Rao, Education and Cognition theme lead, Indian Team. Sylvia Fernandez-Rao is Scientist’ D’ at the National Institute of Nutrition – Indian Council of Medical Research, India. She holds a PhD degree in Psychology. Her research focuses primarily on early child development and parenting interventions in low-income communities in India. She has worked on projects studying the impact of multiple micronutrient fortification and food-based dietary diversification of the main meal delivered by the Anganwadi (Government-run preschool in India) on micronutrient status, especially iron status and cognitive development.

Schedule – 27th of January 2022 at 12.00 GMT
12.00-12.05 – Welcome and Introduction. Dr Bernie Munoz, UCL Institute of Education
12.05-12.15 – Overview of the Action Against Stunting project and Cognition and Education Workstream. Professor Lynn Ang (PI) and Professor Julie Dockrell (PI), UCL Institute of Education, Education and Cognition leads
12.15-12.25 – Profiling early childhood education in low- and middle-income countries. Dr Jessica Massonnie, UCL Institute of Education.
12.25-12.35 – Case study of India. Dr Sylvia Fernandez-Rao. National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Education and Cognition lead, India
12.35-12.45 – Case study of Senegal. Professor Moustapha Ndiaye. Service de Neurologie CHNU de Fann, Université Cheikh Anta DIOP de Dakar, Education and Cognition co-lead, Senegal
12.45-13.00 – Q&A Monitored by Dr Bernie Munoz, UCL Institute of Education

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Event details

When: 27 January, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Where: Online