The Peer Review explored the challenges and good practices on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services for all families and children.
The participants discussed the policies set in place to assess and improve the quality of ECEC systems, how the pedagogical aims are set and achieved, as well as how to ensure flexibility of ECEC facilities for working families.
The participants also reflected on what could be learned from the Danish experience and from other countries.
In Denmark, full-time ECEC is widely accessible. Local authorities are responsible for child care and are required by law to offer a full-time place in a day-care centre for all children from the age of 26 weeks and co-payments from parents are low.
The curricula formulated by ECEC facilities must describe six themes of children’s learning: the child’s all-round individual and linguistic development body and movement, nature and natural phenomena, and cultural expressions and values.
In June 2017, a political agreement provided a common understanding of how to work with these six themes and with children’s learning in order to strengthen the pedagogical curriculum. This strengthening also implies that the six themes will be described and displayed more thoroughly, and there will be a stronger focus on transitions.
To respond to parental circumstances and encourage all families to use ECEC, Denmark introduced a right to ‘Combination of Care’ for families who work irregular hours: a part-time place in a regular ECEC facility can be combined with a financial support for flexible care (with a minimum level of 10h weekly).
The Peer Review was hosted by the Danish Ministry of Children and Social Affairs with peer country representatives from Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Malta.
Representatives of the European Commission, a host country expert, a thematic expert who put the topic in the wider context of EU policy, national experts, and European and local NGO representatives also attended.