Early childhood and schools

ECEC Archives


This site is dedicated to the OECD reviews of national early childhood policies and organisation. The Review was initiated by the OECD Education Committee in 1996. The actual reviewing of the OECD countries began in 1998 and terminated in 2004. Twenty countries were reviewed: Australia, Austria, Belgium (two communities), Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. 

Invited by the participating countries, OECD expert teams evaluated policy, programmes and provision for children from birth to compulsory school age. Prior to the review, participating countries published a Background Report describing current policy and practice, and outlining the challenges that ECEC policy faces in the coming years. After the expert review, the OECD published a Country Note on the issues observed, and suggested solutions and recommendations for the consideration of the competent authorities. Detailed information and review outputs can be accessed by clicking on the following rubrics: 


Starting Strong (Early Childhood Education and Care) Network
Presentation of the OECD Network on Early Childhood Education and Care


Encouraging Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care
Explanation of the project “Encouraging Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care”


Country information
Information bank containing country-specific documentation


Starting Strong: Early Childhood Education and Care (OECD, 2001) (OECD, 2001)
Starting Strong is a comparative analysis of major policy developments and issues in twelve OECD countries from 1997-99. It highlights innovative approaches and proposes policy options with regard to social context, access and quality that can be adapted to varied country circumstances.


Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care (OECD, 2006)
Improving the quality of and access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) has become a major policy priority in OECD member countries. Starting Strong II outlines the progress made by the participating countries in responding to the key aspects of successful ECEC policy outlined in the previous volume, Starting Strong (OECD, 2001).

Thematic Workshops and Documents
This rubric is used to inform the national co-ordinators concerning past and future workshops. Bi-annual workshops were organised by the secretariat, in co-operation with a hosting country, on topics of concern to policy makers.


History and Context of the Reviews
This rubric describes the initial rationale for proposing a review of early childhood services, and outlines the objectives of the review.

Background Reports
These are comprehensive reports on the status of ECEC policy in participating countries commissioned by government ministries and prepared by a team of researchers in each country. 

Country Notes
These are reports written by the OECD expert teams. Country Notes highlight policy issues, interesting initiatives and innovative programmes in the countries under review, and make recommendations for consideration by the public authorities.

Country Profiles
These are the profiles of the countries that have participated in the review. Each profile uses the following descriptors: auspices of ECEC; developments; country context; provision; staffing and training; policy issues.

Coordinates of OECD Secretariat Staff involved in the activity.

Useful Links
Links to Early Childhood Ministries and selected research bodies worldwide.