You have just arrived in ECA Dreamtime, an enchanting world where anything is possible.
Is this your first time here?
Before you get started, I’d love to show you around.
There are three islands here for you to explore. Each one corresponds with a pillar of ECA Abu Dhabi’s vision for the future of early childhood development. Select an island to take a closer look at that aspect of our work.
The three islands of are:
Snoozing Shores – where children live in a secure and stable environment and are protected from harm and danger.
Forty Winks Island – where children have the necessary personal foundations for healthy physical and social-emotional development and early learning.
Isle of daydreaming – where parents are confident and have the capabilities to support their children’s holistic development and wellbeing.
You can also expect to come across a few familiar faces along the way. These are my friends and family, and they’ll always be there to help you out.
As you explore this magical dreamscape, collect stars to learn more about our key achievements in 2022.
Use the map controls to zoom in and explore the islands. Each Pearl displays a different achievement from the past year.
If you don't have time to explore today, you can download a PDF version to read later.
Delivered specialized training on child protection and early childhood development to two cohorts of 305 female recruits in cooperation with the UAE National Service program.
Conducted ten professional development webinars for more than 200 ECD practitioners focused on topics related to Children of Determination and adults caring for them. The training covered a wide range of subjects, including the major social emotional developmental milestones that occur in the first 5 years of life; the importance of addressing social emotional development from a promotion, prevention, and intervention approach; the fundamentals of family-centered and child-centered care; the key components of evidence-based early childhood mental health interventions; and finally, the factors that have historically led to burnout for workers in the early childhood field.
Developed the Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS) and the Safety Concern Portal and oversaw their roll out and integration into the Family Care Authority's (FCA) case management model, including providing training to up to four cohorts of FCA staff on CPIMS.
Commenced preparation of the Children's House as a dedicated child protection hub, including launching a pilot of the project in collaboration with the FCA.
Provided frontliner training to 30 FCA child protection specialists; child protection pilot training to members of local school communities in partnership with educational institutions; and dedicated training on child protection policies and procedures for 42 health professionals from Abu Dhabi in partnership with SEHA and Emirates Doctors.
Facilitated the adoption of the Safe School Program performance management model and associated indicators by several relevant stakeholders including the National Inspection Framework and Aqdar (Khalifa Empowerment Program), and successfully launched a related digital self-evaluation tool.
Finalized the development of branding for the "Dama AlAman" initiative which encompasses the Abu Dhabi child protection system as a whole.
Adapted the contents of the Safe School Handbook for nurseries and developed plans to disseminate the document in early-2023.
Conducted the first Child Data Symposium in November 2022 focused on the importance of cross-sectoral ECD data. As part of the Symposium, which was attended by eight Abu Dhabi government entities and six UAE government entities, leading international experts on child data and cross-sectoral government data shared global examples and success stories from around the world.
Completed the signing of six startups from the Anjal Z Cohort 2 to ECA’s incentive program in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). Three of these startups have established themselves in Abu Dhabi, with another three in the process of registering in the Emirate at the time of writing. All six startups have secured and launched pilots with partners in the UAE. Currently ECA is working with Techstart to launch Anjal Z Cohort 3.0 in January 2023, with over 200 applications already received from local and international startups.
Pioneered the development of an immersive data story-telling experience room, designed for policy-makers and other key stakeholders, at our headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Due to launch in late-2022/early-2023, the Childhood Lab is a unique space where data-driven story-telling will enable visitors to gain a more vivid and nuanced understanding of complex child wellbeing issues that can inform their approach to the development and shaping of government policies.
Identified the Abu Dhabi Moonshot Mission for the ECD Sector in Abu Dhabi – the Parenting Mission – which has gained endorsement from federal and local senior stakeholders. ECA’s Moonshot Mission aims to transform parent behavior and reimagine family time to create an enabling environment for children in Abu Dhabi to spend more quality time with their families.
Successfully implemented the inaugural cycle of the pioneering Parent-Friendly Label initiative, culminating in six organizations being publicly recognized by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, for their commitment to providing parent-friendly workplaces for their employees. In total, organizations participating in this voluntary initiative have the capacity and scale to positively impact 20,000 employees and 6,600 children across Abu Dhabi, and the program is now being implemented across the UAE in its second cycle.
Launched the Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide in English and Arabic for 20,000 parents of Children of Determination (COD) within the ages of 0-8 to support their navigation of the Early Intervention Journey, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development and Zayed Higher Organization, and sponsored by Mubadala. Consistent with our belief in the importance of early intervention, ECA has also conducted training on understanding autism for 100-120 parents and caregivers of young children with autism between 2 to 6 years of age.
Delivered the Positive Parenting Program to an initial cohort of 107 parents. ECA partnered with PDEL to develop and pilot the universal, evidence-based “Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting” parenting program, which aims to equip parents to resolve everyday parenting challenges. The objectives of the parenting program are to: promote non-violent discipline and conflict resolution; increase understanding of children’s development; foster healthy child-parent communication and interactions; increase awareness of children’s rights; and support the creation of effective home learning and play environments.
Launched and completed the Athar Series 1 idea pilots with 32 families in partnership with one nursery and one school in Al Ain. Building on this momentum, ECA has since developed the Athar 2.0 concept and design, which includes pivoting to become an in-house design and thinking support function dedicated to equipping the ECA and its teams with the skills, tools and support they need to reimagine how the organization can most effectively meet the needs and support the wellbeing of children, parents and families in Abu Dhabi.
Facilitated the development of a new Abu Dhabi-specific Parenting Program in partnership with NYUAD, Zayed University and Emirates College of Advanced Education, with the ambition of piloting a home-grown, culturally-grounded, evidence-based program that is comprehensive in its coverage of the various ECD domains. At the time of writing, a pilot of the program is planned to commence in 2023.
Designed “Bedayat,” a support program for families who intend to divorce soon or are at the beginning of the post-divorce stage and have children aged 0-8, in collaboration with Ma’an, Aldar and Tanfees platform. The program aims to equip parents with effective strategies to support their children during and after divorce, and promote positive child wellbeing. Participating families are provided with six weeks of support that includes individual and group sessions, children’s play therapy sessions, support groups, weekly emails and a toolkit. All sessions are led by professional counsellors and family therapists. The program’s framework and objectives have been informed by evidence collected in 2021 as part of a wider stakeholder engagement strategy. The program will initially be delivered to four cohorts of parents and include a formative impact evaluation. The first cohort commenced the program in September 2022, including 10 families from different nationalities.
Created an initiative to provide universal developmental surveillance and standardized screening of over 3000 young children aged 0-36 months across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Mubadala Health and KANAD Hospital. Under the initiative, parents will be invited to participate in 12 developmental surveillance and screening checks based on their child’s age, aligned with the recommended Well Child Visit Standard in Abu Dhabi. A standardized and culturally-appropriate developmental surveillance tool is also being developed in Arabic and English.
Developed a comprehensive strategy to refresh the ECA Parents’ Platform in order to enable it to become the primary source of evidence-based information for Abu Dhabi parents and a trusted link to various support channels. In line with this strategy, ECA aims to increase adoption and engagement levels on the Parent’s Platform in order to provide more parents with valuable information and resources related to their child's development and wellbeing.
Hosted the first inaugural WED (World Early Development) Forum in Abu Dhabi on March 15-16 featuring 250 experts, thinkers, and specialists from a wide range of fields. Highlights of the 2022 Forum included a keynote speech by HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a roundtable with HH Sheikha Mariam Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and remarks by HE Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority. In total, the program featured over 40 talks, panel discussions, and roundtables focused on 13 topics related to WED’s key themes. It was delivered with the support of WED Forum partners including Mubadala, ADNOC, Daman, UNICEF, BvLF, Etihad, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and City Football Group.
Launched the third series of the Takween program, which provides educational, recreational, and physical activities for children, parents, ECD practitioners, and the community. Consistent with these goals, ECA partnered with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism to deliver 101 interactive workshops for children and “Coding for Kids” training courses in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra attended by 230 children. A sports program was provided to 119 children in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority and Al Tahadi Football Academy, and reading sessions led by Emirati writer Basma Al Misbahi addressed topics including empathy, self-confidence, quality family time, and the effects of excessive screen time. Virtual workshops delivered in collaboration with Georgetown University focused on identifying and meeting the needs of children with developmental delays, and nearly 1300 children participated in a Children’s Fun Run organized in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC).
Hosted the inaugural meeting of Leaders for Impact in Early Childhood Development under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Maryam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the ECA Board of Trustees. The Leaders for Impact initiative was founded to support and accelerate the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for Early Childhood Development 2035, and to facilitate the inclusion of key stakeholders in discussions related to the future of the ECD sector.
Abu Dhabi was one of 10 cities selected from around the world to be represented in the prestigious Urban95 Academy Residency Week program at the London School of Economics in October 2022. The program was led by the London School of Economics and Bernard Van Leer Foundation and focused on optimally designing cities for the benefit of children.
Launched a digital media campaign for the second annual ECA research grants cycle, in which fourteen grants will be awarded across three themes in 2023: the role of the father in ECD; health and nutrition; and the ECD workforce. Separately, ECA is sponsoring a standalone grants program focused on children’s assent, entitled "Amplifying Children’s Voices in Early Childhood Development Research: An Assent-Focused Series of Studies."
Consistent with the goal of ECA to create a vibrant research culture in which research informs ECD policymaking, program design, service delivery, and practice, our research strategy which was developed in 2021 is currently being implemented through a number of prioritized projects, including those focused on ECD research Quality Assurance, creating tools and resources for the ECA website, and establishing a culture of ECD research.
Commenced the development of the Abu Dhabi PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System), which is a population-based surveillance system that aims to provide continuous, real-time information to protect and improve the health of mothers and babies, and ultimately, to reduce the number of infant deaths in Abu Dhabi. AD-PRAMS aims to be a fundamental source for evidence-based maternal and child health insights and information; provide a comprehensive source of reliable data; inform the development of public health programs and policies; and provide actionable information on health-related topics including weight gain during pregnancy, infant nutrition, domestic violence, smoking during pregnancy, and low birth weight.
Delivered a learning and development initiative for up to 40 Emirati Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) graduates as part of an ECD Up-Skilling Program in partnership with faculty from ZU, HCT and UAEU. We are also piloting a dedicated ECD licensing program in collaboration with MoE focused on enhancing the capabilities and employability of Emirati ECCE graduates that is due to be completed in February 2023.
Designed and delivered a pilot two-week upskilling program for working nannies on topics including home safety, first aid and local cultural practices, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, Abu Dhabi Civil Defense Authority, and National Ambulance. ECA is currently examining the potential for a wider launch of this initiative.
Developed and launched a “Mental Health Guide for Practitioners” in print and digital versions to raise awareness of this important topic within the early childhood sector and support the health and wellbeing of ECD practitioners in Abu Dhabi.
Delivered a training program on child protection policies and procedures for 42 doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals, in collaboration with SEHA and Emirates Doctors. The course trained participants on early identification, referral, and treatment of potential child abuse cases and early identification of at-risk families to reduce the incidence of child abuse.
Delivered a 4-day course for 40 volunteers on Early Childhood Development Awareness in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, enabling their registration on the volunteers.ae database as specialized ECD volunteers as part of the ECA’s broader upskilling program.
Developed an interactive eLearning course for sports coaches and assistants, to be launched in Q1 2023, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club. The objective of the course is to provide sports coaches and assistants with the appropriate knowledge and tools to prevent child maltreatment, and support early identification and referral of potential child abuse cases to the Abu Dhabi Family Care Authority.
Launched an ECD Workforce Survey in September 2022 which was prepared in collaboration with partners including the Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development, Abu Dhabi Department of Health, and UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, which received 960 responses. The objectives of the survey were to document the demographics and professional characteristics of the ECD practitioner workforce, understand current workforce practices and challenges, and identify professional development opportunities. Findings from the survey will inform recommendations to enhance workplace policies for ECD practitioners in Abu Dhabi.
Provided policy advice and support to our strategic partners, including the Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, and Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, in several areas including foster care, juvenile justice, health & nutrition standards, and home schooling.
Developed a policy-regulatory roadmap for 2023-2025 for early childhood development in Abu Dhabi and an accompanying governance framework for ECA.
Led the development of several pioneering policy documents for Abu Dhabi, including: a policy to ban unhealthy food advertising for children; an anti-bus idling scheme to improve air quality around schools; a reproductive health framework for Abu Dhabi; a respite care framework for parents of Children of Determination; guidelines for children's safety in cars and at home; guidance on qualifications and titles for domestic workers; and guidelines for home visits for low-income households.