The first years of life lay the foundations for a child’s future development and learning.
Many countries have increased their financial support for provision of early childhood
education and care (ECEC) over the past years. More recently, the focus of debate
has been shifting from expanding access to affordable ECEC to enhancing its quality.
A growing body of research suggests that the magnitude of the benefits for children
will depend on the level of quality of early childhood services, with especially strong
evidence in the case of disadvantaged children.In light of budgetary constraints,
policy makers require the latest knowledge base of the quality dimensions that are
most important for ensuring children's development and early learning. However, current
research is often narrow in focus or limited to programme-level or national-level
conclusions. This book expands the knowledge base on this topic. It draws lessons
from a cross-national literature review and meta-analysis of the relationship between
early childhood education and care structure (e.g. child-staff ratios, staff training
and qualifications), process quality (i.e. the quality of staff-child interactions
and developmental activities), and links to child development and learning.This report
concludes with key insights, as well as avenues for further research. It was co-funded
by the European Union.