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Early childhood education and care

Why is it needed?

Early childhood education and care can lay the foundations for later success in life in terms of education, well-being, employability, and social integration, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Education and care systems for young children (from birth to compulsory school age) vary in different countries; EU countries are cooperating to develop high-quality and accessible provision across the Member States.

What has been done so far?

The Commission has set out the priorities for early childhood education and care – with the aim of improving access to and the quality of services from birth to the start of compulsory schooling. Work on this started in 2012 in cooperation with international organisations and stakeholders.

The priorities are:

  • developing policy guidance;
  • developing more European data and research;
  • promoting the most effective use of European funding.
What are the next steps?