Early Childhood Education and Services for All!

Park M., Vandekerckhove A. (2016)

Ensuring equitable access and high-quality ECEC provisions is a public responsibility that can contribute to reaching several key EU2020 targets, including increasing employment, improving education outcomes, reducing early school leaving, and reducing poverty and exclusion. Moreover, addressing issues of access and quality in ECEC also lays the foundations for citizenship and a successful, inclusive society. It is vital for all children to learn, from a very young age, to be comfortable with the growing diversity of our communities--particularly in light of the challenging climate and in many cases growing divisiveness currently evident in many communities. Local, national, and federal EU authorities, in partnership with other stakeholders, including parents, all have the opportunity to embrace the importance of the early years as a unique and vitally important period requiring adequate and comprehensive support in order to achieve these objectives. A failure to respond to the current challenges and barriers in early childhood facing so many disadvantaged and marginalized communities will have long-term consequences and costs which far outweigh the cost of thoughtful investments.