OneSky for all children
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The OneSky Approach
Neuroscience has shown us that during the formative early years, the brain is developing at lightning speed and the quality of care in that critical period shapes the trajectory of a child’s future. Yet each year across Asia, 58 million children under five are at risk of not reaching their full developmental potential. As toxic stress from poverty and adversity weakens a child’s budding brain architecture, the lack of quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) further undermines that child’s promising future.
Our Blended Learning Approach
Over the past 21 years, we have developed an evidence-based blended learning approach to train the adult caregivers in a child's life (early educators, child welfare workers, childcare providers, parents, grandparents, and more) to provide high-quality ECCE for vulnerable young children. Our blended learning approach includes classroom training, hands-on mentoring by early childhood specialists, and continuing education through 1BigFamily, our multilingual online learning community platform suited for mobile. 1BigFamily strengthens in-person training, provides a digital community of practice for peer exchange, and offers on-going upskilling pathways through a multimedia resource library and e-learning opportunities. During recurring lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline educators and caregivers we have trained have been able to use 1BigFamily to connect with their peers, respond to challenges, access critical resources, learn new skills, and gain support and inspiration to keep going.
Altogether, we work to ensure that adult caregivers have the knowledge, capabilities, and community of support they need to provide nurturing responsive care and early learning that enable marginalized children to thrive. The OneSky curriculum is inspired by the Reggio Emilia principles of child-centered learning, globally informed by the scientific evidence base on early childhood development, and locally adapted to serve the specific needs of vulnerable young children and caregivers with varying literacy levels in low-resource contexts. Core to the curriculum is establishing a responsive relationship between the caregiver and child, promoting age-appropriate communication, creating safe and nurturing early learning environments, cultivating play and discovery, and simulating healthy cognitive, language, physical, and social-emotional development.
We are committed to systemic change and have worked, always in partnership with government and other stakeholders, to transform the national standard of early care for the vulnerable children we serve. With the support of our partners, we adapt our approach to the local context, demonstrate its impact, and then build capacity through training of trainers. Over time, our partners invest in and adopt our approach to advance quality ECCE at scale. To date, we have trained 62,843 caregivers to transform the lives of 225,643 children across China, Vietnam, and Mongolia—and indirectly through government adoption and training of trainers, have impacted hundreds of thousands more.
Our Programs and Impact across Asia
After a flawed social policy resulted in an entire generation of abandoned baby girls in China, OneSky (formerly, Half the Sky Foundation) began to train child welfare workers to bring nurturing care to young children languishing inside state-run institutions. Over two decades, our training programs have helped frontline caregivers provide orphaned and separated children, many with special needs, the responsive care and early education they desperately need for healthy holistic development. In 2011, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs invited OneSky to train every child welfare worker in the country, making skilled caregiving a profession and making the OneSky approach the national standard of institutional care. This unprecedented partnership has since reached over 30,000 caregivers and the majority of state-run institutions in all 31 provinces of China.
Today, our work in China has moved beyond institutional walls to also run community programs that hire and train local women to meet the needs of left-behind children in high-poverty rural villages. In Vietnam, we are working to train and upskill the home-based childcare provider workforce serving marginalized young children of low-wage, migrant factory workers living in industrial zones. Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training has invited us to scale up the training nationally. In Mongolia, where formerly nomadic families have migrated to cities as a result of climate change and economic transition, OneSky is training parents to improve early care for vulnerable children across urban informal settlements known as the ger districts.
In 2018, a three-year randomized control trial of our work in rural China was completed by the China Development Research Foundation and the Amsterdam Institute for International Development. The impact evaluation showed that our programs had statistically significant positive effects on caregiver attitudes and child development outcomes. OneSky is now producing a new landmark body of evidence with Professor Aisha Yousafzai of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health through an impact evaluation of our work in Vietnam. The study is the first of its kind for home-based childcare in Asian industrial zones and the largest home-based childcare provider survey outside of high-income countries.
OneSky is committed to supporting adult caregivers of all kinds, strengthening the early childhood workforce, and ultimately transforming systems through government adoption of our training approach. By scaling up high-quality ECCE in this way, OneSky is working to unlock the vast potential in every marginalized young child and ensure that her developmental foundation will be durable for a lifetime. As Nobel Laureate James Heckman’s research shows, these investments will reap dividends for our world as improved child outcomes translate into a more robust and prosperous Asia for decades to come.
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