Creating Lasting Change

BUILD Initiative’s work to support the development of comprehensive early childhood systems is a complex undertaking. Tracking progress, identifying important next steps, and assessing what is working and what is not represent challenges.

Theories of change seek to make explicit the set of interlocking assumptions we have about the change process. By clearly defining these assumptions, it is possible to better assess their individual and collective validity and predictive power.

There are at least three distinct components to the BUILD Initiative’s Theory of Change.

The FIRST deals with the identification of the core components of an early childhood system necessary to achieve the goal of school readiness – what a system would need to look like to produce desired change. There must be some agreement on the need for the system, on what makes up the components of the system and what it is designed to achieve. BUILD’s image of a comprehensive early childhood system, is as a system of systems.

The SECOND deals with the planning, mobilization, and action strategies to develop that early childhood system – what political leadership, public support, knowledge, programmatic and infrastructural base, alignment, shared vision, advocacy and financing is needed to establish and advance the system building. This aspect is described briefly here.

The THIRD deals with the role of the BUILD in serving as a catalyst for constructing that early childhood system – how strategic investments (both financial and technical) from the outside can inform and support state leaders to move forward this system development. 

These interconnected assumptions and theories each speak to different aspects of early childhood systems development. BUILD uses them to guide its evaluation.