Early childhood and schools

Early Childhood Education and Care - Network


The OECD Network on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)  aims at assisting countries to develop effective and efficient early years’ policies for education and learning.  The network aims to support the development of approaches and good practice in the field of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in participating countries by:

  • Developing, sharing and disseminating information on country experiences on policy, research and good practice to support effective policy development and implementation;
  • Identifying topics and aspects where additional research and analysis is required to underpin effective policy development;
  • Assessing data developments required to support effective policy development and implementation and advising on the development of such data.

Since its establishment in 2007, the OECD ECEC Network has positioned itself as a clearing house of new ECEC-related policy issues, a place for peer-policy learning, and a network that brings together international policy-makers and researchers, as well as international networks such as UNESCO and the European Commission. The topics and issues addressed by the Network are the subject of political debate or discussion, and thus have political relevance for countries, or are emerging findings from academic research or research at national level. In particular, the Network has contributed to developing and sharing information on research and good practices of key topics such as: child development and early learning, curriculum and pedagogy, staff education and training, governance of ECEC and standard setting, financing mechanisms, research on ECEC, data collection, monitoring quality, evaluation and assessment, equity in ECEC, evidence-based policy and longitudinal studies of ECEC programmes.

The Network has been also the incubator of innovative developments in international collaboration such as the development of more and better international indicators on ECEC. For example, the network suggested to further ECEC data development in close collaboration with INES programme, and data collection and analysis for the ECEC staff-level survey as well as the early learning assessment group. In addition, the Network has helped developed the TALIS Starting Strong Survey as well as the International Early Learning Study.  

During its first two years , the ECEC Network was hosted at Belgium. The  Kind en Gezin, the Flemish national childcare agency, acted as the international co-ordinator of the Network.  In  2008, the OECD Secretariat took over the role of organising the ECEC Network and its meetings.The Network's current Chair is Ms. Claude Sevenig (Luxembourg).

The outputs of the Network also include a number of papers and documents including:

  • OECD ECEC Network Common Understandings on Early Learning and Development
    Early Learning and Development: Common Understandings is based on policy and statements of practice in ECEC network jurisdictions. This report identifies some of the latest research on the importance of the early years, along with specific guiding ideas and questions derived from policy experience, practice and research to increase the quality of early childhood education and care policies, programmes and curricula.
  • Comprehensive measures of child outcomes in early years” research paper drafted by Dr. Steve Barnett, Dr. Shannon Ayers and Dr. Jessica Francis of the National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
  • Literature review on Pedagogy” ,  document drafted by Dr. Yvonne Anders, Professor at the Free University of Berlin (Germany). This paper served as a background document for a review on pedagogy for England.
  • Financing ECEC Services in OECD Countries”, document drafted by Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky from the University of Toronto at Scarborough. This paper looks at financing issues in Early childhood education and care services.

ECEC Network meetings:

The Network meets to discuss progress of ECEC projects and related work; to have thematic discussions on chosen themes, small group workshops providing peer-policy learning opportunities on relevant political topics;  and, to share knowledge on best practices. In addition, latest research findings are shared by researchers with the Network. Network meetings take place in Paris, or in a host country:

For meeting documents, contact the ECEC team

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