Early childhood and schools

The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study – The Study


The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study is an international survey that assesses children at approximately 5 years of age year-old across 3 to 6 countries, identifying key factors that drive or hinder the development of early learning.

The main characteristics of the Study are presented below.


What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of the Study is to provide countries with a common language and framework, encompassing a collection of robust empirical information and in-depth insights on children’s learning development at a critical age. With this information, countries will be able to share best-practices, working towards the ultimate goal of improving children’s early learning outcomes and overall well-being.

The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study will:

  • Provide robust empirical data on children’s early learning through a broad scope of domains that comprise cognitive and social and emotional development.
  • Identify factors that foster and hinder children’s early learning, both at home and in early childhood education programmes.
  • Provide findings that will allow parents and caregivers to learn about interactions and learning activities that are most conductive to child development.
  • Inform early childhood education centres and schools about skill levels of children at this age as well as contextual factors related to them that they could use to make more informed decisions about curriculums and pedagogical.
  • Provide researchers and educators in the field of early education with valid and comparable information on children’s early learning and characteristics obtained from a range of sources and accompanied by a broad scope of contextual variables.

What are the anticipated benefits of the study?

The Study will produce benefits for children, family, ECEC centers and schools, as well as for countries as a whole.







‌‌‌IELS - The Study - Benefits for the countries


Whom does the study involve?

The Early Learning and Child Well-being Study will involve children, their parents or primary caregivers and staff in randomly selected early childhood and care centres and/or schools of participating countries.

  •  Children: The Study’s primary subjects are children between ages 5 to 5.5 years in officially registered early childhood centres and/or schools.
  • Parents and Primary Caregivers: For every child surveyed, their parents or main caregivers will be asked to complete a questionnaire about the child, his/her home environment and early childhood education experiences.
  • Staff: For every child surveyed, a staff member who knows the child best will be asked to complete a questionnaire about the child. Staff members can be teachers, early childhood educators or any other person taking part in pedagogical work.
  • Settings: The term “setting” refers to an institutional (officially registered) setting that provides education and care for children ages 5 to 5.5 years. Settings must provide educational activities for at least 2 hours per day and 100 days a year in order to be classified as a “setting” for the Study.

What kind of information will be collected in the study?

The Study will gather a wide scope of information on:

  • Children’s cognitive and social-emotional skills
  • Children’s individual background characteristics
  • Characteristics of children’s home environment
  • Characteristics of children’s early childhood education environment

What domains of cognitive and social-emotional skills are to be included in the study?

The Early Learning and Child Well-being Study takes a comprehensive approach to Studying four developmental domains that are widely recognised as key early learning and development skills that early childhood education programmes strive to develop:

  • Emerging literacy/language skills
  • Emerging numeracy/mathematics
  • Self-regulation, and
  • Social and emotional skills.




What information on contextual factors are to be included in the study?

The Study will collect information on contextual factors using parent and staff questionnaires.

The parents’ questionnaire will be used to collect information on children’s socio-demographic characteristics, parental background, home learning environment, early childhood education participation and community characteristics.

The staff questionnaire will be used to gather information on staff background and the early childhood education participation and experiences of the child.





How will children be selected?

The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study will sample at least 3 000 children in at least 200 settings per country and with up to 15 children per setting. An international comparative Study, it will be based on nationally representative samples of children. To meet those requirements, a two-stage probability sampling design will be implemented in participating countries. In the first stage, a random sample of centres within a country will be selected, and in the second stage, children will be randomly selected from the list of children who meet the given requirements within each of the selected settings. These sampling activities will be coordinated and monitored in order to ensure the quality and comparability of the national samples.


How will children’s skills be assessed?

The survey will provide a comprehensive overview of children’s cognitive and social and emotional development and environment through direct and indirect assessment.





Direct assessment: the four early learning domains

The direct assessment will measure the four early learning domains: emerging literacy, emerging numeracy, executive function, and empathy and trust. Children will complete the assessment on tablets, within the presence of a trained Study administrator. The assessment will take approximately 15 minutes per domain, with two domains administered per day.


Indirect assessment: cognitive and socio-emotional skills

The indirect assessment of children’s skills will be obtained from parents and staff through written and online questionnaires. Additional information about children’s behaviour will be collected from the Study administrator.

-          Parents/caregivers will provide information on children’s emerging cognitive and social and emotional skills, and behaviours that they observe at home.

-          Staff will provide information on children’s emerging cognitive and social and emotional skills and behaviours that they have observed in the early childhood education or school setting.

-          Study administrators will provide information on the behaviour of the child during the direct assessment. This information will be used for both survey quality control and assessment purposes.


What is the timeline?

The Study started in 2016 and is carried out over a four year period. Below is an indicative timeline of milestones and activities:

IELS - The Study - Timeline



<<  Back to the home page of the study


Related Documents