from the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child

The Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child strives to create pathways out of adversity for the world’s most vulnerable children and youth using an innovative whole child development approach. Our resources reflect not only our commitment to evidence-based programming and advocacy for whole child development but our commitment to leveraging  cutting-edge scientific methods and interdisciplinary collaboration in order 1) generate actionable evidence; 2) communicate actionable evidence; and 3) build human, administrative, and institutional capacity.


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Current Programs and Projects

The GC-DWC has a number of active global projects and programs focused on whole child development. Visit our programs and projects page to stay up-to-date on our current research and learn more about our global portfolio and how the GC-DWC is supporting actors, educators, and practitioners to integrate a whole child development approach in their programming.

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Briefs and Toolkits

The GC-DWC’s briefs review and share key findings from our different global projects and research. Here you can also find toolkits, guides, and recommendations on how the GC-DWC leverages different approaches and methodologies such as Rapid Evaluation, Assessment, and Learning Methods; Cognitive Interviewing; Community Asset Mapping; and Whole Child School-Community Approaches.

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Practical Measurement

Hosted by the GC-DWC’s Dr. Nikhit D’Sa, the Practical Measurement course is a self-paced, online video course that covers critical issues that practitioners in low-resource and fragile contexts need to consider when measuring the learning and development outcomes of children and adolescents. Explore the modules in any order you wish, collect Dr. D’Sa’s recommendations on additional measurement and evaluation resources from global organizations, and begin to develop a plan to simply and effectively measure and evaluate children and adolescents’ outcomes in your context.

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Students listening to Read Haiti/Strong Beginnings Radio Program

Read Haiti/Strong Beginnings Radio Program

Recognizing radio as the most democratic and effective means of disseminating learning materials in Haiti during COVID-19, the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Haiti and the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services Haiti (CRS) and the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education (CEEC), created three radio programs - a literacy program supplemented with a reading hour program, and a pre-K social and emotional learning (SEL) and parent engagement  program - as a part of a comprehensive approach to distance learning in a low-tech environment.

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COVID-19 Response and Resources

In April 2020, the GC-DWC launched its COVID-19 Education initiative to identify innovative responses to distance learning during school closures. Here you can listen to interviews with educators and actors who share their experiences and responses to school closures in low-tech, rural, and remote environments and read reports from our research on system responses to school closures in Peru, Colombia, Haiti, and Kenya.

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GC-DWC Haiti Resources

GC-DWC Haiti serves as the Center’s flagship project and is at the forefront of cutting-edge whole child development interventions including early childhood education, SEL, health and nutrition, systems activation, and social enterprise. Explore classroom resources, children’s books, curriculum, teacher training materials, and parenting resources from the initiative. These resources are completely open-source, available in French and Creole, and tailored to the Haitian context.

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Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

In response to COVID-19, the LEGO Foundation developed a capacity-building course for educators and caregivers to respond to uncertain situations and to support their own and their children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) through play. The course explores how educators and caregivers can leverage child and adolescent development knowledge and play-based learning to foster children and adolescents’ crucial social and emotional skills in times of crisis. The GC-DWC’s Dr. Nikhit D’Sa joins the LEGO Foundation as an expert instructor for the adolescent module of the course. 

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The Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child, based at the University of Notre Dame, collaborates with researchers and practitioners to ensure the wellbeing—physical, emotional, social, and cognitive—of children and adolescents in low-resource and conflict-affected settings. Established to serve as a coherent platform for the Institute for Educational Initiative’s growing portfolio of global child development and learning programs, GC-DWC creates environments that foster resilience and encourage children and adolescents to thrive. Using an innovative whole child development approach tailored to context-specific needs, GC-DWC translates research into timely and thoughtful action, adapts research tools to improve the development of learning programs and policies, and activates systems (families, schools, communities) to lift children and adolescents out of adversity. Specializing in a holistic approach to child and adolescent development, GC-DWC’s dedicated team combines innovative research and measurement methods in addition to global collaborations, to assess and address risks and assets at the child-level in order to create environments that go beyond simply fulfilling children and adolescent’s basic needs.

We are always looking for Graduate Research Assistants to engage in a variety of research and program development projects. If you are interested in working with us, please complete the form below and reach out to Hannah Chandler ( with any questions.

Graduate Research Assistant Interest Form

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