Starting Strong

Early Childhood Education and Care

Improving the quality of, and access to, early childhood education and care has become a major policy priority in OECD Member countries. The early years are increasingly viewed as the first step in lifelong learning and a key component of a successful educational, social, and family policy agenda. Countries have adopted diverse strategies to policy development in this field - strategies which are deeply embedded in particular country contexts, values, and beliefs. In particular, early childhood policy and provision are strongly linked to cultural and social beliefs about young children, the roles of families and government, and the purposes of early childhood education and care within and across countries. Yet, countries share many similar challenges and issues.

Taking a broader and more holistic approach than previous studies, this book provides a comparative analysis of major policy developments and issues in 12 OECD countries, highlights innovative approaches, and proposes policy options that can be adapted to varied country contexts. What are the most promising strategies for organising policy in ways which promote child and family well-being? Looking towards the future, the report proposes eight key elements of successful policy for decision makers seeking to promote equitable access to quality early childhood education and care.

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