The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study is an international survey that assesses children at age 5 across 3 countries, identifying key factors that drive or hinder the development of early learning. The main characteristics of the Study are presented below.
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:
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 conducive 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 methods.
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.
The Study is guided by a number of principles that underpin its development and progress. These principles provide that the Study is to be:
The Study will produce benefits for children, family, ECEC centers and schools, as well as for countries as a whole.
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.
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.
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:
Emergent literacy/language skills
Social and emotional skills.
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.
The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study will sample at least 3 000 children in at least 200 settings per country and up to 15 children per setting. As 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.
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: emergent literacy, emergent numeracy, executive function, and empathy. 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 emergent cognitive and social and emotional skills, and behaviours that they observe at home.
Staff will provide information on children’s emergent 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.
The Study started in 2016 and is carried out over a four year period. Below is an indicative timeline of milestones and activities: