19/09/2006 - A new OECD report on early childhood policy, Starting Strong II shows that more countries are making early childhood education and care a priority, with greater attention paid to service quality. Increasingly, it shows, the early years are viewed as the first step in lifelong learning and a key to successful social, family and education policies.
Attitudes to education are deeply embedded in country contexts, values and beliefs, and the 20 countries reviewed – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States – all have diverse strategies in this field. Their variations reflect differing attitudes and cultural and social beliefs about young children, the roles of families and government and the purposes of early childhood education and care.
Starting Strong II provides a comparative analysis of policy developments and issues, highlighting innovative approaches and proposing policy options that can be adapted to different national contexts. Among other things, it notes:
Starting Strong II is available to journalists on the OECD's password-protected website. For further information, journalists are invited to contact the OECD's Media Division ( tel.  1 45 24 97 00). The publication can be purchased in paper or electronic form through the OECD’s Online Bookshop . Subscribers and readers at subscribing institutions can access the online version via SourceOECD.
Further information on Starting Strong II can be found at :http//www.oecd.org/edu/startingstrong2