Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care

Bennett, John & Tayler, Collette P. (2006) Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care. OECD, Paris.


Economic development and rapid social change have significantly modified family and child-rearing patterns across OECD countries. This review of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in twenty OECD countries describes the social, economic, conceptual and research factors that influence early childhood policy. These include increasing women's labour market participation; reconciling work and family responsibilities on a more equitable basis for women; confronting the demographic challenges faced by OECD countries; and in particular, addressing issues of access, quality, diversity, child poverty and educational disadvantage. How countries approach such issues is influenced by their social and economic traditions, their understandings of families and young children, and by accumulated research on the benefits of quality early childhood services. 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). It offers many examples of new policy initiatives adopted in the ECEC field. In their conclusion, the authors identify ten policy areas for further critical attention from governments. The book also presents country profiles, which give an overview of ECEC systems in all 20 participating countries. This book is relevant for the many concerned by child development, work/family balance and early childhood education and care policy. Countries covered: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Table of Contents Executive Summary 11 Chapter 1. Why Countries Invest in Early Childhood Education and Care 19 1. The rise of the service economy and the influx of women into salaried employment 20 2. Reconciling work and family responsibilities in a manner more equitable for women 23 3. Demographic challenges: falling fertility and continuing immigration 30 4. Acting against child poverty and educational disadvantage 33 5. Early childhood education and care as a public good 36 Notes 39 References 40 Chapter 2. A Systemic and Integrated Approach to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Policy 45 1. Co-ordinated policy frameworks at centralised level 47 2. Appointing a lead ministry 49 3. The co-ordination of central and decentralised levels50 4. A collaborative and participatory approach to reform 53 5. Links across services, professionals, and parents at local level 53 Notes 55 References 56 Chapter 3. A Strong and Equal Partnership with the Education System 57 1. A unified approach to learning 59 2. Is a "schoolification" of early childhood education and care taking place? 62 3. Facilitating transitions for children 64 Notes69 References 70 Chapter 4. A Universal Approach to Access, with Particular Attention to Children in Need of Special Support 73 1. Providing universal and appropriate access for all 3- to 6-year-olds 77 2.Increasing public provision for children under 3 84 3. Ensuring equitable access for all children to attend quality ECEC 92 Notes 97 References 98 TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 5. Substantial Public Investment in Services and the Infrastructure 101 1. Who benefits from investments in ECEC services? 102 2. How much are countries spending on ECEC services? 103 3. Bringing new resources into the ECEC field108 4. How do governments fund ECEC services? 110 5. Child care costs to parents 113 6. Does the modality of funding chosen impact on system quality? 114 7. Effective policy includes investment in administration, and support services 119 Notes 120 References 121 Chapter 6. A Participatory Approach to Quality Improvement and Assurance 125 1. Quality and regulation in ECEC127 2. The state of ECEC regulation in OECD countries 129 3. Initiatives to improve regulation and quality standards 131 4. The use of pedagogical frameworks and educational plans 134 5. Dominant understandings of the ECEC curriculum. 135 6. What are countries doing to promote a participatory culture of quality in ECEC services146 Notes 153 References 153 Chapter 7. Appropriate Training and Working Conditions for Early Childhood Education and Care Staff 157 1. The quality of ECEC systems requires effective staff training and fair working conditions 158 2. Staffing profiles in the ECEC sectors161 3. New thinking about the core professional in early childhood services165 4. Initial and in-service education 168 5. Remuneration and conditions of work 168 6. Strategies to recruit a mixed-gender, diverse workforce 170 Notes 172 References 173 Chapter 8. Systematic Attention to Data Collection and Monitoring 175 1. Creating comprehensive data collections for young children and their services 176 2. Steps to improve ECEC data collection 179 3. Establishing a national procedure to collect and provide reliable ECEC data 181 4. Monitoring ECEC systems183 5. More participatory approaches to system monitoring184 Notes 186 References186 TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 9. A Stable Framework and Long-Term Agenda for Research and Evaluation 187 1.What types of research are most common? 189 2. Expanding ECEC research agendas193 3.Some challenges in the research field 198 Notes 201 References 202 Chapter 10. Concluding Policy Observations 205 1.Policy areas for consideration 206 2.Concluding remarks 220 Notes 222 References 223 Annex A. Terminology Used in the Report 227 Annex B. The Scope and Methodology of the ECEC Review 232 Annex C. Data for Figures239 Annex D. A Summary of International Evidence in Favour of Public Investment in ECEC 249 Annex E. Country Profiles: An Overview of ECEC Systems in the Participating Countries 259 Annex F. Members of Review Teams437

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ID Code: 7704
Item Type: Book
Additional Information: For more information contact the author at
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Early Childhood Services, Early Care and Education, Policy and Planning, Family Support, Well Being, child care, preschool, kindergarten
ISBN: 9264035451
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Policy (160510)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Community Child Health (111704)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Family Care (111707)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Deposited On: 16 May 2007
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:28

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