About the ECN

Our Story

The Evaluation Capacity Network (ECN) formed out of discussions with a range of stakeholders who recognized the value of evaluation in the field of ECD along with the many challenges that prevent its meaningful integration. To tackle these challenges and fully realize the potential of evaluation, the ECN aims to bring stakeholders together to collectively advance evaluation practices in the field of ECD.

Supporting children in the early years requires expertise and input across multiple sectors and disciplines, many of which have differing perspectives on evaluation. The ECN connects this diverse community to promote learning through the shared practices, perspectives and approaches of diverse ECD stakeholders. We need to engage in open dialogue to align resources, understand the impacts we are having on ECD, and collectively reflect on how to make informed decisions to best support young children.

Supporting children in the early years requires expertise and input across multiple sectors and disciplines,
many of which have differing perspectives on ECD and evaluation.

Why Now?

It is an opportune time for advancing evaluation practices in ECD. Decades of research show that the early years are a time of both promise and risk, setting the foundation for healthy functioning throughout the lifespan. The environments that children encounter from the prenatal period onward have a cumulative effect on all aspects of their development. In order to learn effectively and grow into successful adults, children need supportive and responsive nurturing in stimulating environments. Providing children with early supports can prevent negative outcomes and promote long–term positive development in health and cognitive, social, behavioural and academic domains.

Healthy experiences in the early years create a foundation for a lifetime of positive outcomes.

Quality evaluation can help us to understand how to best support children during their formative years.  It can enhance learning to inform better programming, provide strategic direction, and communicate impact. Advancing evaluation practices in the field of early childhood development is therefore essential if we are to fully understand the extent to which we are making a difference in the lives of children and families.

Watch a video of Martin Garber-Conrad, CEO of Edmonton Community Foundation, describing the creation of the Evaluation Capacity Network.