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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 Chinese, German, French, Korean

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Setting out quality goals and regulations

Quality-focused goal setting is one of the key policy levers to encourage quality in ECEC. Research has shown that, when explicitly set, they can help: i) consolidate political will and strategically align resources with prioritised areas; ii) anchor discussions between ministries and improve government leadership in ECEC; iii) promote more consistent, co-ordinated and child-centred services with shared social and pedagogical objectives; and iv) provide guidance for providers, direction for practitioners and clarity for parents. Setting out clear regulations is another key policy lever. Research has shown that minimum standards can guarantee the health and safety of children in highquality environments by: i) levelling the playing field to ensure the quality of all providers; ii) ensuring conditions of learning and care through structural indicators that can enhance child development; and iii) communicating with parents about the quality of services and helping them make informed choices.

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