Early childhood and schools

Early Childhood Education and Care - Thematic Reviews



The OECD thematic reviews identify key elements of successful ECEC policies that are common to countries around the world. The reports offer an international perspective of ECEC systems;  discuss the strengths and opportunities of different approaches; and provide policy orientations that can help promote equitable access to high quality early childhood education and care. Examples of thematic reviews include: improving access to ECEC services; fostering equity of ECEC systems; ensuring high quality services to foster child development; establishing monitoring systems to support quality development and inform policy making; and facilitating transitions from ECEC to primary schooling.

Starting Strong VII: Empowering Young Children in the Digital Age

Digitalisation is transforming education and social and economic life, with far-reaching implications for today's children. Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), with its immense potential to shape children's early development, learning and well-being, can play a major role in addressing the opportunities and risks that digitalisation brings to young children. Digitalisation also creates new ways of working that have the potential to lead quality improvement in the ECEC sector. Building on data collected from 30 countries and jurisdictions in 2022, this report provides a 360-degree view of the challenges of digitalisation for ECEC and possible policy responses.


Starting Strong VI: Supporting Meaningful Interactions in Early Childhood Education and Care

Children’s learning, development and well-being are directly influenced by their daily interactions with other children, adults, their families and the environment. This interactive process is known as “process quality”, and leads to a key question – which policies set the best conditions for children to experience high-quality interactions in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings?
This report discusses five main policy levers and their effect on process quality, focusing particularly on curriculum and pedagogy, and workforce development. It presents indicators covering 26 countries and jurisdictions, 56 different curriculum frameworks, and more than 120 different types of ECEC settings.

Starting Strong V:
Transitions between ECEC and primary education


International research points out that early childhood education and care (ECEC) provides a crucial foundation for future learning and helps to develop the cognitive and social-emotional skills essential for future success. To ensure that the benefits of ECEC last when children leave the child care or early education provision and continue their development in primary schooling, strong and high quality transitions between ECEC and elementary schooling are necessary. This  publication will present the findings of the policy review of transition from ECEC to Primary Education.

This publication advances knowledge on how OECD and non-member countries prepare, design and implement transitions between ECEC and primary education to ensure the positive impact of ECEC is sustained and reflected on later achievement.

Starting  Starting Strong IV: 
Monitoring Quality in ECEC


Research suggests that access to high quality matters for better child learning outcomes. A growing number of countries are establishing monitoring systems to ensure quality and accountability.

This publication explores how countries can develop and use monitoring systems to enhance service and staff quality for the benefit of children. It offers an international perspective and concrete examples to help policy makers, monitoring experts and practitioners in the field develop their own monitoring policies and practices.




Starting Strong III:
A Quality Toolbox for ECEC


Early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring a wide range of benefits – for children, parents and society at large. However, these benefits are conditional on “quality”. Expanding access to services without attention to quality will not deliver good outcomes for children or long-term productivity benefits for society.
This publication focuses on quality issues: it aims to define quality and outlines five policy levers that can enhance quality in ECEC. It provides busy policy makers with practical tools such as research briefs, international comparisons, country examples and self-reflection sheets in order to successfully implement these policies.

Country notes: The outputs of the project included individual country reviews on quality matters



Starting Strong III:
A Quality Toolbox for ECEC – online version

The online version of the Quality Toolbox presents the five policy levers found to enhance quality in ECEC and contains several components not found in the publication, including a web page that compiles a sample of approaches used by governments to improve ECEC within their country. Links to websites, reports, frameworks, guides, training videos, brochures, etc. have been categorised by the five levers of the toolbox

After the launch of Starting Strong III , high-level government officials, academics and key stakeholders showed interest in extending the findings of the report by collecting more data on how countries are measuring quality. The OECD Review of Policies and Practices for Monitoring and Evaluating Quality in Early Learning and Development was developed during 2013/14. The outputs of the project included individual country reviews on quality matters: Quality Matters Country Policy Profiles



Starting Strong II:
Early Childhood Education and Care


This publication describes the progress made by participating countries in responding to the key aspects of successful ECEC policy outlined in the previous volume, Starting Strong (OECD, 2001). It offers many examples of new policy initiatives adopted in the ECEC field. Ten policy areas for further critical attention from countries are identified. The book also present country profiles, which can give an overview of ECEC systems in 20 participating countries.

This book is relevant for the many concerned by child development, work/family balance and early childhood education and care policy.



Starting Strong


This book provides a comparative analysis of major policy developments and issues in 12 OECD countries, highlights innovative approaches, and proposes policy options that can be adapted to varied country contexts. What are the most promising strategies for organising policy in ways which promote child and family well-being? Looking towards the future, the report proposes eight key elements of successful policy for decision makers seeking to promote equitable access to quality early childhood education and care.


Additional reports


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