The early years are essential in that they greatly influence individuals’ prospects concerning education, employment and integration later in life. 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 to give a fair start to all pupils, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. For this reason, the European Pillar of Social Rights underscores that children have the right to affordable early childhood education and good quality care.
The Commission has made a proposal for a Council recommendation on high-quality early childhood education and care systems, with the objectives to:
- Develop a common understanding across the EU of what constitutes good quality service provision with regard to early childhood education and care. This in turn will support national reforms and promote social inclusion by facilitating the exchange of experience and best practices.
- Support EU Member States in their efforts to improve access to and the quality of their early childhood education and care systems. This includes making EU funding available for improvements to the availability and quality of services, and reviewing benchmarks and targets.
After negotiations between the Commission and the EU Member States, the Council Recommendation was adopted by the Education Ministers at the Council meeting in Brussels on 22 May 2019.