We jointly create new knowledge

We believe that people with relevant ideas, skills and commitment need to engage with the underlying causes of issues that children and young people face. ICDI stimulates knowledge transfer and exchange among child and youth care professionals and other people who play a role in the daily lives of children and young people. 

Early Childhood Education and Development

Healthy development in safe and nurturing environments in the early years provides an essential foundation for every child’s life. Its significance is recognised by international research, especially for the most vulnerable ones. With the aim of broadening the focus of worldwide interventions to support a more holistic approach to Early Childhood Education and Development, ICDI is determined to stimulate training, research, and policies, in both formal and non-formal settings. We specialise in four focal areas:

  1. Working with families and communities to establish and/or strengthen safe and nurturing environments, inspired by the principles of responsive parenting and playful learning, and promoting intergenerational relationships.
  2. Improving the psychosocial development of young children through the development of dedicated programs that stimulate children’s interaction with their environment, with special attention to play, culture and access to nature, and the creation of innovative tools that support practitioners and communities enhancing the quality of ECEC services.
  3. Fostering equity and diversity in ECEC formal and non-formal services, with attention to gender, language, socio-economic background, abilities, and ethnicity, highlighting the importance of social inclusion of all children and families within the communities where they live. Attention is paid to gender, language, socio-economic background, ability/disability, and ethnicity.
  4. Promoting play and playful learning, as play, in all its forms, has a central role in children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development, providing opportunities for children to actively explore and interact with their environment, with peers and adults, expanding their curiosity and boosting their self-confidence.

Child Protection & Well-being

To establish safe and enriching environments for girls and boys (from 8 to 18 years old), it is essential to create adequate circumstances by increasing both knowledge and skills of all involved. ICDI aims to facilitate the smooth transition from middle childhood (8-12 years old) to adolescence (12-18 years old), and from adolescence to adulthood, so that children can reach their full potential and become happy, well-balanced grown-ups. Special attention is paid to children and young people at risk, and to those living in or coming from situations of violence and/or exclusion. We specialise in two focal areas:

  1. Online safety, as more and more children and youth are accessing the Internet, with a special focus on children and youth who lost (or are at risk of losing) parental care and on war-affected children and youth. The capacity of professionals, parents, and youth is built through the promotion of safe, responsible online behaviour, digital resilience, healthy online relationships, and gender equality online. Within safe online spaces, young people can nurture their life skills and enjoy the benefits of unsupervised play and civic participation.
  2. (Non)formal education and life skills, through innovative and age-appropriate approaches that promote discussions on identity, self-determination, psychosocial well-being and child-centred focus within themes of intercountry adoption, child marriage, SRHR, and impact of climate change. We educate children and young people on their rights and equip them with essential life skills, strengthening their voices, shaping their audiences, and nourishing their networks.

Special and Innovative Initiatives

Having a comprehensive approach towards development also means that we are constantly evolving in our understanding of children’s and youth’s wellbeing. We are driven by new knowledge and our curiosity to explore newly emerging needs that will improve children’s lives. We are also eager to test our approaches in different contexts and with new groups. Within this thematic area, we challenge ourselves to learn, discover, build new partnerships, and co-create, focusing on the most vulnerable, children and youth. We develop, test and pilot new approaches within experimental initiatives. The most successful ones are tuned into ready-for-upscaling methodologies and programmes.