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

Image: European Commission

Commissioner launches three new reports to support urgent improvements for learners aged 0-6 and the staff who work with them.

On 3 March, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, hosted an event on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe. She was joined by João Costa, the Portuguese Secretary of State of Education, and Roderic O’Gorman, Irish Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. She launched three new publications created by the ET2020 Working Group on ECEC and the European Commission:

Toolkit for Inclusive ECEC Guidelines on how to recruit, train and motivate well-qualified ECEC staff Analysis of the Erasmus+ projects in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care

Commissioner Gabriel praised these contributions to the first priority of the European Education Area:  quality, equity, inclusion and success in education and training. Mr Costa emphasised how ECEC fosters success and helps children to become better learners later on, noting that Portugal will use the Toolkit to monitor recent educational reforms. Mr O’Gorman also shared plans for Ireland’s ECEC workforce development within its “First 5” strategy. Ireland used the European Quality Framework for ECEC to develop this plan, which seeks to improve the qualifications, salaries and working conditions of ECEC staff.

Two panels of representatives from four European organisations (Eurochild, Lifelong Learning Platform, Eurocities and ETUCE) discussed the latest developments regarding inclusion, staff professionalisation and the Council Recommendation on quality ECEC systems.

The event recording is available here.

The European Commission also announced an upcoming brochure on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ECEC sector.

Further webinars in 2021 will focus on ECEC in Europe, including more on inclusion and professionalisation of the sector.