Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe: A focus on inclusion and staff professionalisation

3 March 2021, 13:30-15:00

Online event

 

Watch the event recording!

The first step towards our future

On 3 March 2021, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, will launch an online event on early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Europe focusing on inclusion and staff professionalisation. 

European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel will be joined by:

  • João Costa, Portuguese Secretary of State of Education
  • Roderic O’Gorman, Irish Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Together, they will present outputs of the early childhood education and care working group, including a toolkit for inclusive early childhood education and care and a report on how to recruit, train and motivate well-qualified ECEC staff.

The event will be held in English. Further online events will be organised throughout the spring and summer 2021 - stay tuned for more!

Background

After the adoption of a Council recommendation on high-quality ECEC systems in 2019, the ET 2020 Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care has now published the result of its work: a toolkit for inclusion and a report on how to recruit, train and motivate well-qualified ECEC staff. 

The toolkit explores how decision-makers can foster inclusive ECEC systems through a range of policy measures and practices which benefit all children, regardless of their individual or family circumstances. 

It recognises that some children, such as those with disabilities or a migrant background, may benefit from more targeted policies and measures to ensure their specific needs are met.

The report about ECEC staff examines the broad range of ECEC professions and profiles and the need to better recognise the value of staff's work.

It discusses various approaches to make ECEC professions more attractive and highlights the need for well-trained staff as a key factor to ensuring quality early childhood education and care.

In addition, the Commission will briefly present an analysis of Erasmus+ projects related to ECEC and the preliminary findings of a study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ECEC sector.

Programme

(Timings and sessions may be subject to change)

* Prior registration is not required to watch the web streaming

13:30-13:40 | Welcome and introduction

  • Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

13:40-14:10 | Panel discussion 1: Toolkit for inclusion in ECEC

  • João Costa, Portuguese Secretary of State of Education
  • Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild, former President of Malta
  • Arja Krauchenberg, President of Lifelong Learning Platform and former president of European Parents’ Association

Moderation: Sophia Eriksson-Waterschoot, Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC), European Commission

14:10-14:40 | Panel discussion 2: Guidelines on how to recruit, train and motivate well-qualified ECEC staff

  • Roderic O’Gorman, Irish Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
  • Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of Eurocities 
  • Susan Flocken, European director of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE)

Moderation: Michael Teutsch, Head of Unit, Schools and multilingualism, DG EAC, European Commission

14:40-14:55 | ECEC: next steps

  • Michael Teutsch, Head of Unit, Schools and multilingualism, DG EAC, European Commission
  • Anna-Maria Giannopoulou, Deputy Head of Unit, Schools and multilingualism, DG EAC, European Commission
  • Géraldine Libreau, Policy Officer, Schools and multilingualism, DG EAC, European Commission

14:55-15:00 | Closing

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Towards a European Education Area

Early childhood education and care policy has a key role to play in the European Commission’s vision to achieve a European Education Area by 2025, as outlined in the 2020 Communication.

In 2020, the goal of 95% participation in ECEC among children from the age of 4 within the EU was almost achieved, with 94.8% participation. As an important determinant of later basic skills acquisition, this accomplishment demonstrates strong progress towards realising the Commission’s vision for the European Education Area.

The Commission and EU Member States will now strive to achieve the goal of 96% participation in ECEC among children between 3 years old and the starting age for compulsory primary education within the EU by 2030, as outlined in the Council Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030).

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Preview image: © Unsplash/@alicegrace, 2016.