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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Executive summary

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) remains high on the policy agenda in many OECD countries. In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are 5 years old. Enrolment rates continue to increase for children of the age of 3 and above, as well as for children under the age of 3. This has been made possible, in part, by the extension of legal entitlements to a place and the efforts to ensure free access for the older age group (e.g. 3-5) and selected population groups such as the younger age group (e.g. 0-2) or the disadvantaged group. The largest share of funding for the sector comes from public sources, and governance responsibilities are often shared between national, regional and local authorities, often split between ministries of education, social affairs, and employment. Given the increase in enrolments, policy makers have turned their attention towards educational content and pedagogy for better quality, towards the integration of services for more effective service delivery, and towards child experiences and outcomes for higher return of investment.

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