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Science-Based Innovation: A One Day Training on the FOI Approach to Program Development and Testing

  • Sheraton Commander Hotel 16 Garden Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 United States (map)

Presenter: Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Description: Decades of research have illuminated many of the causes and correlations of negative outcomes for children who grow up facing adversity. When it comes to solutions, however, the early childhood field has produced only modest impacts. The focus has been on proving that programs are effective on average—rather than understanding how they work and for whom.

How can we build better programs that achieve greater outcomes for more young children and their families?

In the Frontiers of Innovation (FOI) community, we challenge the traditional way of designing and evaluating programs. Our promising new innovation approach is a rigorous design process for developing, testing, deploying, and iterating programs—one that allows us to go beyond the average and ask:

  • What about it works? (What are the key ingredients?)
  • How does it work?
  • For whom does it work, and for whom does it not work? 
  • In what contexts does it work? And, how can we adapt it for other settings?

This one-day training will provide you with an overview of this new approach and its implications for early childhood programs. You’ll be introduced to a set of guiding principles and tools that will help you translate science into practice and begin to develop stronger programs, optimize your evaluation efforts, and engage in rapid-cycle learning.

The training includes a session with Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., on From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A Science-Based Approach to Building a More Promising Future for Young Children and Families. You’ll also learn more about how to develop: a precise theory of change, program materials that support effective implementation, and evaluation methods that facilitate continuous learning. In addition to informative presentations, you'll have opportunities to reflect on and discuss what you’ve learned in small groups.

This training is not just for program developers. We encourage anyone who works with or supports young children or their families to join us and begin to think and work differently. The cost of the training is $350 for the day. The program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and lunch and snacks will be provided. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging.

Click here to register!