Date: 09-11-2016

American Institutes for Research looks to Europe for Promising Strategies

The American Institutes for Research's (AIR) recent study Connecting All Children to High-Quality Early Care and Education has looked at European countries, and identifies how Early Childhood Education being considered a 'child's right' impacts positively on the delivery of services. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, AIR conducted a scan of efforts to improve access to quality ECE for low-income, minority families in other countries that might inform learning and practice in the U.S. context. Because many other countries have higher participation rates in formal ECE programs than the United States, we expected that such a scan could identify successful strategies that could be applicable in the United States. ISSA and some of its members were part of an European delegation to AIR and shared ISSA’s experience in working on quality and equitable services young children; identifying our work on the Quality Framework for Birth to Three Services, the Home visiting program, the work on young refugees children in partnership with UNICEF and also REYN- Romani Early Years Network. The Quality Framework for Birth to Three Services was used as an example how to reinforce policies and practices on the country level, with an inter-sectoral view, while stressing the importance of the workforce, supporting their work and professional growth and the need to advocate for a greater recognition of the early childhood profession in societies. The scan by AIR found that policies and program models that seem to be associated with high rates of ECE engagement among low-income families in a variety of European countries has identified the following factors as being particularly important: 1. Engaging parents and communities as partners in the ECE system 2. Making ECE part of a continuous birth-to-school system 3. Ensuring adequate and stable funding (making ECE a budget priority) 4. Providing preferential access for high-priority groups to high-quality ECE within the context of universal provision of services Read the Brief here and the full Report here