Starting Strong III

A Quality Toolbox for Early Childhood Education and Care

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Early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring a wide range of benefits – for children, parents and society at large. However, these benefits are conditional on “quality”. Expanding access to services without attention to quality will not deliver good outcomes for children or long-term productivity benefits for society.

This new publication focuses on quality issues: it aims to define quality and outlines five policy levers that can enhance it in ECEC. In addition, it provides busy policy makers with practical tools such as research briefs, international comparisons, country examples, self-reflection sheets, etc. in order to successfully implement these policy levers.

English Also available in: Chinese, German, French, Korean

Advancing data collection, research and monitoring

Data and monitoring can be a powerful lever to encourage quality in ECEC by establishing facts, trends and evidence about whether children have equitable access to high-quality ECEC. They can be used to ensure accountability and/or support programme improvement. They can help analyse and determine appropriate policy responses with appropriate indicators. They can also help parents make informed decisions about their choice of services. Countries use various monitoring tools, such as interviews, observations, standardised testing, portfolios, quality rating and surveys, fit for the purpose. Research can also be an influential tool to inform policy and practice. In ECEC, research has played a key role in explaining the success or failure of ECEC programmes; prioritising important areas for ECEC investment; and informing ECEC practices through evidence. Countries report challenges in advancing research, such as: i) a need for more evidence on the effects of ECEC and cost-benefit analysis; ii) under-researched areas or areas with newly growing interest; and iii) dissemination.

English Also available in: French

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