spotlight archive

Professionalisation of Childcare Assistants in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Pathways towards Qualification

The Erasmus+ report, “Professionalisation of Childcare Assistants in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Pathways towards Qualification,” focuses on reviewing profiles of ECEC assistants in 15 European countries, as well as the professionalization opportunities available to them. The report makes recommendations on how pathways for qualification and continuous professional development (CDP) can be created for assistants. Examples from Denmark, France and Slovenia show some successful pathways in these areas.

Several key findings were introduced in the report. The first is that ECEC assistants are not recognized in policy documents or research. This is unacceptable considering the high number of assistants in the ECEC workforce. Additionally, ECEC assistants have little opportunity to receive the same qualification as a core practitioner. There should be investment in systems that reward the work of all staff, and opportunities to be upwardly mobile at work. This includes increasing the number of opportunities for professional development that assistants have access to. European countries do not generally provide funding for staff’s non-contact time, causing assistants to miss out on reflection time with their teams.

The lack of competence profiles for assistants hinders the holistic approach to childhood development. When the position and competences of assistants are recognized, they are often considered simply technical workers. In fact, ECEC assistants bring diversity to the workforce and aid the ability of staff to engage with diverse children and families. National experts who acted as consultants for this study suggest that more assistants are of ethnic minority backgrounds than core practitioners.

ECEC assistants enrich the workforce, CDP and qualification opportunities should reflect the invaluable work they do.

Find the full report in the ECWI Knowledge Hub.

Early Childhood Workforce in Peru: A country study

Through a series of country studies, R4D will gather and analyze information to formulate actionable policy recommendations for strengthening and scaling up a quality early childhood workforce. The first country study will take place in Peru,  and will examine the country’s early childhood system, as well as the role of community workers who conduct home visiting. 
In collaboration with a local research partner, the study will employ a mixed-methods approach to establish both the scope of challenges facing the workforce, as well as key barriers and promising practices for achieving a quality workforce at scale. 
The first stage of the study will involve a mapping of the early childhood system  in Peru and an examination of the national policy context. Key guiding questions include: What relevant national and local policies and structures are in place to support the workforce? Who are the key decision makers and stakeholders involved, and what settings and professions comprise the early childhood system? Where possible, this study will look at both national and sub-national levels, as well as across public, private, nonprofit, and informal sectors. 
After the analyzing the country system, a specific role within the early childhood workforce will be explored in more depth. Through desk research and local data collection, the study intends to capture the composition of this particular workforce, required competencies and standards, training and professional development opportunities, processes in place for monitoring quality and providing continuous feedback, working conditions and the status of the profession, and available financing. 
Informed by the system mapping and examination of a  particular professional role (in the case of Peru, community workers) as well as interviews with key stakeholders, R4D will estimate the size and cost of scaling up this particular workforce and identify major bottlenecks to achieving quality and scale. The study will conclude with policy recommendations, focusing on innovative or promising programs, policies, and mechanisms that can be leveraged to support and strengthen the early childhood workforce.
This country study in Peru, together with other country studies conducted, will serve as analytical input for the initiative’s joint learning activities and reveal common themes, issues to tackle, and promising practices across diverse country contexts.