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Starting Strong IV

Monitoring Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care

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Research suggests that, when it comes to early childhood education and care, quality matters most. A growing number of countries are establishing monitoring systems to ensure quality and accountability in these programmes. This new publication explores how countries can develop and use these systems to enhance service and staff quality for the benefit of child development. It offers an international perspective and concrete examples to help policy makers, monitoring experts and practitioners in the field develop their own monitoring policies and practices.

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Current state of play and trends in early childhood education and care (ECEC) monitoring systems

Even though considerable responsibilities for ECEC monitoring tend to be transferred to local authorities, common trends emerge. First, monitoring is on the rise across countries, to ensure accountability of investments in ECEC and satisfy an interest in quality enhancement. Second, efforts are made to improve monitoring methodologies and processes. Structural quality is most commonly monitored for regulatory compliance. The importance of monitoring “process quality”, e.g. the quality of staff-child interactions, is being increasingly acknowledged, and monitoring staff quality has gained prevalence. More and more information on child development and outcomes is being gathered. The active role of local governments in managing ECEC quality is being complemented with national quality frameworks to support providers’ monitoring. Third, areas of monitoring such as service quality, staff quality and child outcomes are rarely monitored separately. Fourth, ECEC monitoring progressively aligns with the primary-school monitoring system. And fifth, monitoring results are becoming increasingly publicly available.

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