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The prototipe

The System Prototipe

This ECCE System Prototype, or simply System Prototype, is a resource whose overarching purpose is to provide practical assistance to Member States (MSs) or regional blocks as they address this fragmentation, repositioning ECCE into an interconnected, high priority, multisector system. Toward this end, we invite MSs to submit practical accounts, case descriptions, or examples from their own context of the process of planning, building, and implementing sustainable, comprehensive, and integrated ECCE systems so these may benefit other MSs who are currently facing similar situations.

Guide lines

The process of converting disparate ECCE services in a country into a well-defined system requires not only support across the stakeholder groups that contribute to or bear on ECCE, but purposeful analysis and planning. This System Prototype guides stakeholders, envisaged here as organized into what are referred to generically as system design committees (SDCs), through an in-depth analytic and diagnostic situation analysis or inventory of the sectors and supporting infrastructure that must function interdependently and in mutually reinforcing ways for effective ECCE to take hold as a sustainable system. This inventory is anchored in a set of questions related to each part of the system and its interactions with other parts. Through this process, SDCs will develop what can be called a sophisticated system craftsmanship or dexterity (Carbonell, Stalmeijer et al. 2014). Such system dexterity involves competences discussed further on page 11, competences that rarely appear in the professional training for any of the sectors contributing to ECCE but that are crucial for ECCE system development.

ECCE System

ibe ecce, infographic

An adaptable model

The System Prototype does not seek to serve as a point-by-point blueprint for action, but instead as a workbook to assist in system design. It calls for design committees to delve deeply into literature and resources as a precursor to a comprehensive inventory process. As an analytical tool that begins with this inventory, the System Prototype is not meant to tell Member States what is wrong with their ECCE endeavors or how to repair them. It is rather meant to help Member States raise key questions about and develop strategies for converting those endeavors into functioning systems.

The System Prototype is thus generalized and must be adapted to national, regional, or local context, circumstances and joint ownership by system stakeholders. It can simplify and hasten ECCE system design, though, by clarifying tasks and considerations that are relevant across most national contexts. And more importantly, it is the process of adaptation that constitutes the complex work of ECCE system building, and of closing the gap between the sophisticated ECCE literature and fragmented global practices.

Growth tools

The System Prototype begins in the next section by briefly summarizing elements of that research base and rationale for ECCE, largely from:
a) the economic and social vantage of ECCE’s remarkably high rate of return as an investment;
b) the vantage of the rationale for a systems orientation. This summary relies on the literature and gives extensive references to it, and includes as annex five important and publicly available documents that constitute an ECCE primer and more in-depth immersion into the literature.

The System Prototype’s purpose is not to furnish a new, comprehensive review to add to these able productions that are already available. Instead, the need this System Prototype seeks to fill is provision of hands-on tools for ECCE analysis and identification of critical constraints that prevent MSs from attaining and sustaining comprehensive, integrated ECCE systems.


The primary intended audience of System Design Committees or SDCs refers to individuals representing a country’s multiple ECCE stakeholders who convene and are committed to carry out the planning necessary to iteratively design, implement, test, and revise an ECCE system. In practice, an SDC will likely have fluid membership and will take different form depending on its context. More generally, the System Prototype audience is intended to include ECCE professionals, policy-makers, researchers, community members, and parents, and thus to serve as a lingua franca or common language for communication between sectors and levels.
As fully as possible, the System Prototype avoids language or terminology specialized to individual ECCE-relevant fields. Yet as a caution, efforts to plan and create multisector and multilevel systems are fraught with difficulty and with the need to understand the perspectives, ways of thinking, and approaches of others. Genuine and productive collaboration and communication require a sophisticated competence of stepping out of familiar conceptual frameworks and internalizing unfamiliar frameworks in service of productive joint results. A document meant to speak to all stakeholders will inevitably make references unfamiliar to each. This dynamic is familiar in any type of collaborative activity, yet it is especially urgent for ECCE stakeholders to brace for the hard work of crossing communication boundaries to enable the healthy and holistic early life experience that is the right of every child.