spotlight archive

Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) Study

The 2018 Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) study focuses on the importance of quality, and how to strengthen it in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings. Extensive research demonstrates that the benefits of ECEC for children are increased when the service provider and educators are highly skilled and participate in professional development (PD), and the service is of high quality. Upskilling the workforce, including in-service professional development, is considered to be a key to improving quality, and can produce substantial and practical improvements for staff and children alike.

Building on the existing body of international research, the findings of the Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) study, address the need for quality improvement in ECEC by showing how a particular form of evidence-based in-service PD can produce substantial and practically meaningful improvements in both staff practices and child outcomes.

The FEEL study was conducted by the research team from Early Start, University of Wollongong, on behalf on the NSW Department of Education. You can find the study on the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative Knowledge Hub.


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The Role of Social Service Workforce Development in Care Reform

The Role of Social Service Workforce Development in Care Reform

The Role of Social Service Workforce Development in Care Reform illustrates key issues by drawing on the experiences of Indonesia, Moldova and Rwanda – three countries are in the process of reform. Each country's reform takes place within their own context and history, social and political system, protection structure and services, and social services education system.

The case studies highlight each country’s reform processes and identifies learning in terms of the approach taken to strengthen and align the social service workforce given the needs of the system, the scope and actors involved, and the different care reform strategies and outcomes. The case studies are presented with recognition of the ongoing and dynamic process and are examples from different stages and contexts of reform.

You can find this resource on the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative Knowledge Hub.


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Inclusive early childhood education environment self-reflection tool

Inclusive early childhood education environment self-reflection tool

Inclusive early childhood education environment self-reflection tool was developed in order to identify, analyze and promote the main characteristics of quality Inclusive early Childhood Education for all children. This tool was designed to address the need for professionals and staff in early years settings to reflect on their inclusiveness. The tool consists of eight sets of questions, which address the following aspects of inclusion:

  • Overall welcoming atmosphere
  • Inclusive social environment
  • Child-centred approach
  • Child-friendly physical environment
  • Materials for all children
  • Opportunities for communication for all
  • Inclusive teaching and learning environment
  • Family-friendly environment

The questions presented in this tool are designed to be used flexibly and according to the needs of the user, setting or organization. 

Find it on the Knowledge Hub.

Longitudinal Study of Changes in Teachers’ Views of Early Childhood Education in the USA, Russia, and Finland

Longitudinal Study of Changes in Teachers’ Views of Early Childhood Education in the USA, Russia, and Finland

The complexities of societies impact the Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector as a whole – including the professionals working within it. Changes in societies challenge the workforce to grow and evolve. The research study, Longitudinal Study of Changes in Teachers’ Views of Early Childhood Education in the USA, Russia, and Finland, takes a look at the changes in teachers’ views of the needs of children in the aforementioned countries.

Researchers documented teachers’ views about the needs of children, their professional work, and center-based child care between 1991 and 2011. Data was collected from teachers in child care centers through focus group discussions. Results suggest vast changes on both the micro and macro levels of ECE.

You can find this cross cultural study on the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative Knowledge Hub.


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Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education

Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education

Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education lays out a framework for a funding strategy aimed at providing accessible high-quality early childhood education and care to those from birth to kindergarten.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine appointed the Committee on Financing Early Care and Education with a High Qualified Workforce to prepare a report, outlining a framework for a funding strategy. The committee developed a set of criteria in order to assess current ECE financing mechanisms. These criteria are organized around principles determined by the committee. Principle 1, which focuses on the early childhood workforce states, “High-quality early care and education requires a diverse, competent, effective, well-compensated, and professionally supported workforce across the various roles of ECE professionals.”

The criteria is as follows:

  • Are the total funds available, combining private and public support, adequate to cover the full costs of high-quality early care and education, including the costs of recruiting and retaining a highly qualified workforce?
  • Do the financing mechanisms promote the maintenance or creation of a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse workforce across job roles?
  • Are funds available to facilitate the development of a highly qualified workforce, with support for higher education and ongoing professional learning?
  • Are funds available to ensure work environments support effective educator practice and promote the well-being of the workforce?
  • Do the financing mechanisms promote rational workforce compensation commensurate with qualifications, responsibilities, and competencies, across funding streams and ages of children served?
  • Are financing mechanisms available to support training for the ECE workforce in leadership, administration, and financial management?

Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education recognizes that a highly qualified workforce is essential for the provision of high-quality education and care. You can find Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education on our Knowledge Hub.


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Top 10 resources in the Early Childhood Workforce Knowledge Hub

Top 10 resources in the Early Childhood Workforce Knowledge Hub

Over the last several years, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative has collected over 150 resources for the Knowledge Hub hosted on this website. These resources come from a total of 70 countries – making the Knowledge Hub the place to go for diverse literature on the early childhood workforce in different contexts and locations. In order to support those working in the Early Childhood Workforce, and those charged with making policies regarding this workforce, we offer free access to this large variety of well-researched documents about the profession. Read on to find the most downloaded resources in the second quarter of 2018.

1. Achieving Excellence through Continuing Professional Development: A CPD Framework for Early Childhood Educators
This Framework provides child care personnel with a structured pathway to develop, update and specialize in knowledge and skills relevant to their profession. It is designed to help child care personnel continue to deliver high quality programs and services to children and families.

2. Supporting the early childhood workforce at scale: The Cuna Más home visiting program in Peru
The first country of three country studies from the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative focuses on Cuna Más in Peru. The study shares valuable workforce lessons that resonate more broadly with ECD programs and policymakers seeking to reach young children and families around the world.

3. Workforce Development Framework
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute of the United States developed this a framework tailored to reflect the complexity of the work and these unique features of child welfare. This framework is intended to help agency leaders understand the best and promising practice in developing competent, committed, and diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace. The framework illustrates an integrated approach to consistently assess, plan and implement strategies designed to address workforce gaps and evaluate the results through continuous quality improvement.

4. UNICEF ECD Resource Pack
This Early Childhood Resource Pack is designed to help program planners and managers understand the basic elements of the best start in life for children and how to most effectively work together to achieve those goals. It combines advocacy arguments with experiences, exercises and information that can be used to develop skills and understand programming for young children in development and emergency situations.

5. Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Training and Professional Development
The second in the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative’s series of landscape analyses is the first attempt to review global literature and experiences across early childhood sectors and roles. The study identifies shared experiences, challenges and approaches in an attempt to support efforts to strengthen the training and professional development opportunities available to members of the early childhood workforce.

6. Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Competences and Standards
Though there is recognition that competences and standards are important, there have been few efforts to date to systematize the various approaches to developing and implementing them for the early childhood workforce. This study from the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative aims to begin filling the gap in order to identify common approaches and challenges.

7. Child Care Staff: Learning and Growing through Professional Development
This publication from offers insights and shares innovative practices about the current professional development and support activities currently offered to the Australian early childhood workforce. Drawing on the views and experience of 684 child care service directors/managers/owner-operators and staff across Australia, this publication aims to answer questions about how professional development impacts children’s outcomes and what the measures of effective support services are.

8. Quality Assurance in Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in Southeast Asia
This regional study examines the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) quality assurance policies, mechanisms and models in Southeast Asia. Researchers gathered important information on: ECCD quality assurance policies in the different countries, the ECCD policies and standards, the development and implementation of early learning development framework being used as a quality assurance tool, the ECCD teacher qualification standards and its implementation and the issues and challenges on quality assurance of ECCD programs and services.

9. A Review of the Literature: Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Personnel in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
This literature review was commissioned to inform the development of a common survey instrument for the UNESCO pilot Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) which will collect data on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) personnel in selected low- and middle income countries (LMICs). The authors address three questions in this literature review:
• What is the evidence on the relationship among personnel characteristics, the quality of ECCE services and child outcomes?
• What are the training requirements, working conditions, setting characteristics of ECCE personnel in LMICs? What beliefs do these personnel hold?
• What are the trends and main issues surrounding the above-mentioned characteristics and their implications for access and quality?

10. Gender Inequalities in Early Childhood Development Education Teaching Profession in Kenya
This research paper focuses on the gender imbalance in early childhood education in Kenya. There is an emerging trend of men training as professionals in the field. Still, they are underrepresented. This paper presents a case study in Kenya, and further investigates the factors influencing the gender imbalance among preschool teachers.

The Initiative continues to update the Knowledge Hub on a regular basis, in fact 40 resources have already been added this year! Choose from one of the above resources, or see the Knowledge Hub for yourself here.


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Supporting the Early childhood Workforce at Scale: Preschool Education in Ukraine

Supporting the Early childhood Workforce at Scale: Preschool Education in Ukraine

This study, the second in this series, focuses on the role of preschool teachers in Ukraine. The country, with a predominantly public network of preschool education, has achieved coverage for a significant proportion of the population. Nevertheless, it struggles to meet demand and ensure quality of services. In addition, Ukraine is at a unique moment where increasing attention is being paid in the country to improving the quality of preschool education and supporting inclusion, which have been elevated in recent policy reforms. Taking into account the significance of preschool teachers to the system of preschool education, this study aims to gain a better understanding of their experiences, including their backgrounds, the support that they receive, as well as the challenges that they encounter.
By illustrating the experiences of preschool teachers in Ukraine and identifying the size and scope of the challenges they face, it is hoped that this study will support officials within the Ministry of Education and Science (Ministerstvo osvity i nauky) in Ukraine as well as local education departments to strengthen and support preschool personnel through targeted policies and programs and contribute to the knowledge base around the early childhood workforce.

Find the Executive Summary and the Full Report, in English and Ukrainian here.


About the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative
Strong and growing evidence on the impact of early childhood development (ECD) services on children’s development has contributed to efforts to increase access to ECD programs, although there are persistent challenges related to ensuring their quality. Although evidence indicates that the workforce is one of the most important factors influencing quality of center-based services, relatively little is known about it. Through the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI) – a multi-stakeholder effort to support and empower those who work directly with young children led by the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and Results for Development (R4D) – R4D is carrying out a series of country studies to understand the experiences and challenges faced by those in particular roles in several countries. The country studies intend to focus on a range of roles including professionals and paraprofessionals, paid and unpaid workers, and frontline workers and managers, from the education, health and nutrition, and social and child protection sectors. You can sign up for our newsletter here.

Money, love and identity: Initial findings from the National ECEC Workforce Study

This summary report shares the initial findings of a National Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce study – a three-year national study funded by the Australian Research Council. In addition to findings from the study, this report shares key takeaways from conversations during a workshop hosted by the researchers. Capturing responses from participants of this 76-delegate workshop, here you can find observations and insights into emerging themes and the implications they have for policy and practice.

This report reviews the following topics:
1. An overview of initial findings from the ECEC Workforce Study
2. Interesting and surprising findings about tensions in ECEC
3. A summary of participant responses to the study findings and other prioritized workforce topics
4. Key themes responding to the question – looking forward, in an ideal world, what is one ‘must have’ in a national ECEC Workforce Strategy?

You can find out more about the outcomes of this study and the personal, professional and workplace factors that influence the recruitment, retention and engagement of educators in center-based ECEC services on our Knowledge Hub.


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Teachers in Asia Pacific: Status and Rights

More than half of the 70 million teachers (primary and secondary) in the world’s formal educational system are from the Asia-Pacific region – making it essential to document the current situation for teachers in the region. Teachers in Asia Pacific: Status and Rights (2015) examines the trends and policies affecting teachers’ status and their emerging needs and challenges. It provides a general picture of the current situation of teachers in Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Why is this report so important?

Raising the status of teachers and upholding their rights is a critical and global issue.

This study reviewed essential elements of the current status and working conditions of teachers, examined the rights and privileges of teachers and developed recommendations for policies and strategies to attract qualified teachers and motivate them to remain in the teaching profession. The key recommendations, which are based on this research, are aimed at improving the status and rights of teachers in each of the countries studies, and in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

Though country contexts are diverse, this report gives a snapshot of the region and highlights the importance of advancing teachers’ status and providing multiple career progression pathways to motivate them to remain in the profession.

What’s included in the recommendations?

The results and policy recommendations presented in this report provide insights that are valuable to governments in advancing the status of their teachers with the view of retaining them in the profession. These include recommendations on selection criteria, pre-service teacher education, professional development, career development, salaries, measuring teacher performance, school leadership, teachers’ voices, teachers’ working conditions and gender within the workforce.

To read the full report. Visit our Knowledge Hub.

Top 10 resources in the Early Childhood Workforce Knowledge Hub

May 7, 2018

Over the last several years, resources from more than 70 countries found their way into our Knowledge Hub – making it the go-to for a variety of geographic contexts. Our Knowledge Hub, or resource library, is home to 140 resources highlighting various professions within the Early Childhood Development field. In order to support those working in the Early Childhood Workforce field with free access to a variety of well-researched documents about the profession, the Initiative continues to update the Knowledge Hub regularly. So far, 30 resources have been added in 2018!

Take a look at the Top 10 downloads in the first quarter of 2018.

1. Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Competences and Standards
Though there is recognition that competences and standards are important, there have been few efforts to date to systematize the various approaches to developing and implementing them for the early childhood workforce. This study from the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative aims to begin filling the gap in order to identify common approaches and challenges.

2. Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Training and Professional Development
The second in the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative’s series of landscape analyses is the first attempt to review global literature and experiences across early childhood sectors and roles. The study identifies shared experiences, challenges and approaches in an attempt to support efforts to strengthen the training and professional development opportunities available to members of the early childhood workforce.

3. National Guidelines - Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention
National Guidelines from Early Childhood Intervention Australia presents eight recommended best practices in Early Childhood Intervention. The clear and plain-language text also offers rationale for each of these practices.

4. Child Care Staff: Learning and Growing Through Professional Development
This publication offers insights and shares innovative practices about the current professional development and support activities currently offered to the Australian early childhood workforce. Drawing on the views and experience of 684 child care service directors/managers/owner-operators and staff across Australia, this publication aims to answer questions about how professional development impacts children’s outcomes and what the measures of effective support services are.

5. Supporting the early childhood workforce at scale: The Cuna Más home visiting program in Peru
The first country of three country studies from the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative focuses on Cuna Más in Peru. The study shares valuable workforce lessons that resonate more broadly with ECD programs and policymakers seeking to reach young children and families around the world.

6. Early Childhood Education Pre-Service Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Teaching Psychosocial Skills Across the Kindergarten Curriculum in Ghana
This study assesses early childhood education pre-service teachers’ knowledge in teaching psychosocial skills across the kindergarten curriculum in Ghana. The thorough research, published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education, questioned 123 pre-serve teachers pursuing a degree in early childhood education.

7. Early Years Workforce Strategy
This strategy from the United Kingdom details how the department for Women, Equalities and the Early Years plans to support the early years sector and remove barriers to attracting, retaining and developing the early years workforce.

8. Achieving Excellence through Continuing Professional Development: A CPD Framework for Early Childhood Educators
This Framework provides child care personnel with a structured pathway to develop, update and specialize in knowledge and skills relevant to their profession. It is designed to help child care personnel continue to deliver high quality programs and services to children and families.

9. NESET II : Transforming European ECEC services and Primary schools into professional learning communities: drivers, barriers and ways forward
At the European level, there is a lack of comprehensive comparative research that reviews existing professional learning communities in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and schools. This report focuses on how ECEC services and schools can become professional learning communities.

10. Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators – Related Professional Criteria
The appendices from the Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators, provide clear and concise guidance on essential knowledge and skills for infant-toddler educators. They complement related professional criteria, tools and child development benchmarks.


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