Children face diverse conditions in early childhood education and care programmes in Europe
At a time of unprecedented challenges, the importance of giving all our children a solid start by providing quality early childhood education is central. The extensive benefits of early childhood education and care have been increasingly acknowledged, ranging from economic advantages for society as a whole to better performance in schools. International skill survey results (PISA 2012 (OECD) and PIRLS 2011 (IEA)) document that children and teenagers perform better in reading and mathematics if they have attended ECEC. Providing high quality ECEC may help reduce future public spending on... welfare, health and even justice. By laying strong foundations for successful lifelong learning, high quality ECEC brings personal benefits to children, particularly to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. ECEC is a cornerstone for building better and more equitable education systems. In support of evidence-based policy making, Eurydice publishes Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe – 2014 Edition in cooperation with Eurostat. The report provides insights into what constitutes high quality early childhood education and care through internationally comparable indicators. It combines statistical data and system-level information to describe the structure, organisation and funding of early childhood education and care in Europe. It covers a number of specific issues important to policy-makers such as access to ECEC, governance, quality assurance, affordability, professionalisation of staff, leadership and measures to support disadvantaged children. This brochure summarises the report's key findings. This report covers the 32 European countries (37 education systems), involved in the Eurydice Network under the Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013), except the Netherlands.