The First 2000 Days Network

The First 2000 Days Network (The Network) was an active collaborative response of community members, organizations, professionals with a passion for making progress on linking, aligning and leveraging efforts in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) system to enable collective action toward improving ECD outcomes.

The First 2000 Days Network operated using a network approach integrating developmental evaluation and adaptive learning which was supported by stronger relationships, behaviour change and collective action at all levels which ultimately contributes to systems change and improved outcomes for children and families. 

The ongoing support for The Network operated as a backbone; responsible for facilitation, coordination and guidance of the unique contributions that came from individuals, coalitions and organizations in the ECD sector. 

The uniqueness and overall success of The Network’s efforts was due to the open and voluntary participation based on the ability to contribute energy, resources, ideas, and time to this function on behalf of the entire Network.

 

The Network contributed to the ECD sector at all levels. Activities included community updates, events, and engagements, professional development, conference presentations, advocacy efforts to municipal and provincial governments. The Network’s backbone developed a number of strategic documents demonstrating the ongoing learning of their efforts.

Some noteworthy documents include:

  1. Lessons Learned and Launching Pads
  2. City Wide Strategy
  3. PARTNER Tool Results
  4. Integrated Approach
  5. Developmental Evaluation 2017

The Network also contributed to a number of engagement items and held community connection sessions called Network Nights that brought together parents, front line workers, leadership and change makers into one group to discuss a relevant issue or topic in the ECD sector.

You think that because you understand “one” that you must therefore understand “two” because one and one make two. But you forget that you must also understand “and”.” – Sufi wisdom

“It was an honour for Calgary Reads to serve as the incubator and fiscal sponsor of the First 2000 Days Network from 2013 to 2020. As a result of the leadership and freedom provided by Calgary Reads the Network became an innovative attempt for a diverse collection of collaborators to be brave, bold, different and function outside of the traditional organizational structures and Early Childhood Development (ECD) system. The Network was lucky and unique in that it had the time and space to re-think what was needed to achieve real change and it invested in learning from lifelong champions in the sector, leading thinkers on building high quality networks, collective impact, and efforts to support families and children in global contexts.

Through our longstanding commitment to the First 2000 Days Network Calgary Reads was able to grow and learn alongside high quality people, shift our work upstream and take collective action in support of the development and early literacy of young children before they arrive at school. We came to understand that we were “one” AND “one” with the Network and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be more than “two.”

In 2020, with the loss of the First 2000 Days Network, the pandemic, and Calgary Reads uncertain future, it became clear that we needed to find a new, more sustainable host to store the Network’s library so we could collectively carry forward the lessons learned and continue to see, think and care differently for the benefit of children, their families, our sector and society. We are so pleased that the Owerko Centre is committed to strengthening our community’s capacity for wisdom and to sustaining the legacy of ‘The Network’.

       – Steacy Pinney, CEO Calgary Reads