The early years are the most formative in human life and they greatly influence people's education, employment and integration prospects. Early childhood education and care lays the foundation for further learning and is an effective investment in education and training. High quality services are essential to improve education outcomes and give a fair start to all pupils, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. That is why the European Pillar of Social Rights underscores that children have the right to affordable early childhood education and care of good quality.

With its proposal for a Council recommendation on high quality early childhood education and care systems, the Commission aims to:

  • develop a common EU-wide understanding of what constitutes good quality service provision. This in turn will support national reforms and promote social inclusion by facilitating the exchange of experience and good practice.
  • support EU Member States in their efforts to improve access to and quality of their early childhood education and care systems. This includes making EU funding available for improvements in the availability and quality of services and reviewing benchmarks and targets.