Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Landscape Analysis Working Conditions


Early childhood development (ECD) services have a strong, positive impact on children’s development. Research from diverse contexts shows that interventions that promote nurturing care in early learning environments significantly improve childhood development and later adult outcomes. Despite increasing knowledge on the benefits of ECD, however, much remains unknown about the early childhood workforce, the range of individuals across paid and unpaid roles who provide services to young children and their caregivers across the health, nutrition, education, and social and child protection sectors. Research supports that the workforce is one of the most important factors influencing the quality of ECD services. However, key questions remain unanswered, including: 

  • What does the early childhood workforce need to know and be able to do in order to carry out their roles? 
  • What types of training opportunities are most effective for building the knowledge and skills that the workforce needs? 
  • What types of feedback does the workforce receive on their work on a daily basis? 
  • What financial and non-financial incentives impact the job satisfaction of personnel?

In an effort to address these questions, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI), a multi-stakeholder global initiative co-led by Results for Development (R4D) and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) that works to support and empower those who work directly with young children, is carrying out a series of global landscape analyses to illustrate the size and scope of the challenges faced by the early childhood workforce, while also highlighting promising practices countries have adopted in response to these challenges. Spanning a range of roles including professionals and paraprofessionals, paid and unpaid workers, and frontline workers, supervisors, and managers, from the education, health and nutrition, social protection and child protection sectors, these analyses aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the current status of the workforce worldwide.


Vidya Putcha, Denise Bonsu, and Michelle Neuman

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