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The care that children receive or do not receive in their early years determines not only their immediate well-being but plays an important role in their lifelong well-being.

Quality early childhood education and childcare services (also simply referred to as early childhood services) are widely acknowledged as playing an important role in the overall development of children. They also provide an 'umbrella' for a regular monitoring of the health and nutrition status of children at a critical period of growth.

However, children from poorer and rural households and those socially excluded are often found to have significantly less access to early childhood services than those from richer and urban households. And these disadvantaged children, who are most likely to benefit from an early education, are the least likely to be enrolled and continue into primary education, both in highly advanced industrialized countries as well as developing countries.

Governments have a clear role in addressing these disparities and hold a number of essential means to do so, including legal authority, financial and human resources. Throughout the world governments have taken different paths in using these means to fulfil their commitment to parents and children. The governance and financing of early childhood education and care is a complex area of policy that crosses several specialties and sectors and its experience holds many lessons to be learned.

The Socio-Economic Policy Unit of UNICEF IRC in partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation is undertaking a cross-national study aimed at increasing the understanding of how the effective implementation of a national policy framework on early childhood development services can contribute to reaching all young children, particularly the most disadvantaged, and help ensure the successful transition into primary education.

Technical work on the study is carried out by a team of international experts, led by Professor Pia Bitto, based at Yale University.

Work on the study includes a systematic review of the literature, investigation of the association between the three factors (programme goals, governance, and finance), country case studies for four low- and middle-income countries in two regions, Eastern and Southern Africa (Zambia and Kenya) and East Asia and Pacific (Cambodia and Laos), and policy recommendations and lessons learned. The research mainly examines national policies, administrative and fiscal responsibilities, and other government actions towards the delivery of early childhood and primary education services.

A comparative report drawing on the literature and the cross-national analysis will be published, as well as four country case study reports.

The care that children receive or do not receive in their early years determines not only their immediate well-being but plays an important role in their lifelong well-being.

Quality early childhood education and childcare services (also simply referred to as early childhood services) are widely acknowledged as playing an important role in the overall development of children. They also provide an 'umbrella' for a regular monitoring of the health and nutrition status of children at a critical period of growth.

However, children from poorer and rural households and those socially excluded are often found to have significantly less access to early childhood services than those from richer and urban households. And these disadvantaged children, who are most likely to benefit from an early education, are the least likely to be enrolled and continue into primary education, both in highly advanced industrialized countries as well as developing countries.

Governments have a clear role in addressing these disparities and hold a number of essential means to do so, including legal authority, financial and human resources. Throughout the world governments have taken different paths in using these means to fulfil their commitment to parents and children. The governance and financing of early childhood education and care is a complex area of policy that crosses several specialties and sectors and its experience holds many lessons to be learned.

The Socio-Economic Policy Unit of UNICEF IRC in partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation is undertaking a cross-national study aimed at increasing the understanding of how the effective implementation of a national policy framework on early childhood development services can contribute to reaching all young children, particularly the most disadvantaged, and help ensure the successful transition into primary education.

Technical work on the study is carried out by a team of international experts, led by Professor Pia Bitto, based at Yale University.

Work on the study includes a systematic review of the literature, investigation of the association between the three factors (programme goals, governance, and finance), country case studies for four low- and middle-income countries in two regions, Eastern and Southern Africa (Zambia and Kenya) and East Asia and Pacific (Cambodia and Laos), and policy recommendations and lessons learned. The research mainly examines national policies, administrative and fiscal responsibilities, and other government actions towards the delivery of early childhood and primary education services.

A comparative report drawing on the literature and the cross-national analysis will be published, as well as four country case study reports.

LATEST INNOCENTI PUBLICATIONS

A great change is coming over childhood in the world's richest countries. Today's rising generation is the first in which a majority are spending a large part of early childhood in some form of out-of-home child care. At the same time, neuroscientific research is demonstrating that loving, stable, secure, and stimulating relationships with caregivers in the earliest months and years of life are critical for every aspect of a child’s development. Taken together, these two developments confront public and policymakers in OECD countries with urgent questions. Whether the child care transition will represent an advance or a setback for today's children and tomorrow's world will depend on the response.

AUTHOR(S)

Peter Adamson

The aim of this publication is to provide a review of the literature and current policies of early childhood education and care in the economically most advanced countries of the world. The introductory chapter provides some basic definitions: what is meant by 'early childhood services' both in the narrow sense of care and education services for young children (family day care, childcare centres, pre-primary educational services, integrated services, etc.) and in the wider sense of services supporting the holistic development of young children.

AUTHOR(S)

John Bennett

An accumulation of research across hundreds of studies shows the benefits of quality early childhood care and education for children’s later learning, school success and social development. In recognition of the value of providing early learning opportunities, many nations have expanded early childhood care and education in recent years. Mexico provides an interesting case in which expansion of early childhood care and education has occurred in the past 5 years, as have initiatives to improve quality and revise the national curriculum for pre-schoolers.

CO-AUTHOR(S)

Hirokazu Yoshikawa; Robert G. Myers; Kathleen McCartney; Kristen L. Bub; Julieta Lugo-Gil; Maria A. Ramos; Felicia Knaul

The Convention on the Rights of the Child introduces for the first time in an international human rights treaty, the concept of the ‘evolving capacities’ of the child. This principle has been described as a new principle of interpretation in international law, recognising that, as children acquire enhanced competencies, there is a diminishing need for protection and a greater capacity to take responsibility for decisions affecting their lives. Action is needed in law, policy and practice so that the contributions children make and the capacities they hold are acknowledged.

AUTHOR(S)

Gerison Lansdown

Development of young children encompasses their survival and good health. It also involves their cognitive, emotional, ethical and social growth. Yet research findings have not yet been fully digested or appropriated by the international community for its policies and programmes. It is not widely enough known that meeting the social and psychological needs of young children and intergrating them with nutritional and health needs can be accomplished at relatively low cost.

AUTHOR(S)

Cassie Landers

MORE PUBLICATIONS

Project team

David Parker; Otoe Yoda


Partner organizations

Yale University


Conferences & Meetings

Early Childhood


Related Innocenti Projects

2006-2009

Resources and policies for children

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