- Over 55 children participate in workshops that utilized design-thinking principles to generate insights.
- Children aged six to eight years use imagination and creativity to ideate for current and foreseeable real-world challenges.
- The children displayed a high awareness of the idea of sustainability and recycling, as well as climate-friendly energy alternatives.
30 November, 2023, Abu Dhabi, UAE: In a child-centric initiative, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has engaged children aged six to eight in the WED Children’s Discovery Workshops, a series of workshops designed to gather unique insights crucial for early childhood development (ECD). More than 55 children across Abu Dhabi, Al Falah, and Al Dhafra participated, showcasing their imagination and problem-solving abilities to address present and future real-world challenges.
It is critical to understand the needs of children in their early years. However, accessible research for parents and caregivers are not easily available beyond academic content. In recent years, design thinking has been increasingly applied and has shown success in generating valuable research and creating innovative solutions and programs that better cater to children’s developmental needs.
Harnessing the unique perspective and creativity of these young minds, the workshops gathered critical insights and unveiled a remarkable awareness among the children regarding outdoor recreation, recycling, and eco-friendly energy alternatives. Their prototypes included a green park with a sustainable recycling facility and crops of locally grown food, a smart hotel that operates on clean energy with a green rooftop coffee shop, and a sustainable car powered by solar energy.
The insights garnered from the workshops will be utilized by WED Movement’s Breakthrough Working Group (BWG) to develop innovative and actionable outputs, advancing ECA’s vision to help Abu Dhabi’s young children achieve their full potential in a safe and family-friendly nurturing environment. A multidisciplinary group, the BWG comprises of experts representing a mix of academicians and researchers, creatives, innovators, policy influencers, global business leaders, and technical consultants.
Her Excellency Sana Suhail, Director General of Abu Dhabi ECA, says “Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) recognizes the pivotal time from pregnancy to age eight as crucial for child development. Our human-centric approach empowers us to address today’s pressing issues while using children’s perspectives as the foundation of our significant projects in Abu Dhabi and beyond. Recognizing children as intelligent, creative, courageous, and environmentally aware, we value their unique insights on the development and evolution of the Emirate. These workshops therefore invited a diverse group of children and parents, spanning different ages, schools, locations, and cultural backgrounds, including both working and non-working parents. Focusing on problem identification, creative thinking, and developing actionable solutions, the insights received will further encourage the partnership with the BWG to yield transformative results that will make an actual difference in Abu Dhabi and the world at large.”
In the inaugural edition, the BWG spearheaded a series of reports and outputs, two of which – namely the survey titled “Tech Humanity for Children Survey” and the “Developers Guidelines Whitepaper” – have already been introduced into the piloting phase.
The UAE, along with other countries like Sweden and Denmark, are leading in integrating child participation in decision making, a practice not yet common worldwide. Despite advancements, the degree of adoption and frequency of the direct involvement of young children in policy-making and developmental workshops is still an exception rather than a widespread norm.
ECA – Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority
ECD – Early Childhood Development
WED Movement – World Early Development Movement
BWG – Breakthrough Working Group
About WED [World Early Development Movement]:
WED Movement, led by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), is a groundbreaking knowledge stage that takes bold action to drive collaborative, innovative, and effective work in the Early Childhood Development sector in the UAE and globally. Its network and knowledge co-creation unites global experts, visionary partners, and disruptive innovators to tackle the pressing challenges faced by Abu Dhabi and the world around young children. Through disruptive design thinking, human-centric innovation, and actionable outcomes, WED Movement aims to enhance next-generation thinking in Early Childhood Development.
WED Movement acts as a catalyst for change by promoting key topics and raising awareness across sectors. It facilitates knowledge exchange with local and international stakeholders, encourages evidence-based decision-making, and fosters dialogue through its platform and the bi-annual Research Conference and WED Forum.
WED Movement benefits from the support of the Board of Trustees of the Abu Dhabi ECA and other Abu Dhabi Government entities involved in Early Childhood Development.
About ECA Abu Dhabi:
Established in 2019, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority [ECA] is a government entity that oversees the Early Childhood Development sector in Abu Dhabi. Focusing on the period from pregnancy to 8 years of age, Abu Dhabi ECA aims to promote optimal child development and well-being through health & nutrition, family support, child protection and early care & education. The ECA was born out of the Government of Abu Dhabi’s long-term commitment to improving child outcomes. The vision of the ECA is for every child to be healthy, confident, curious, and able to learn and develop strong values in a safe, family-friendly Abu Dhabi.