16 Jul 2021

New NESET report on ensuring quality Early Childhood Education and Care in the era of COVID-19

NESET is happy to present a new analytical report “Governing quality Early Childhood Education and Care in a global crisis: first lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic”, prepared by Katrien Van Laere, Network member Nima Sharmahd, Arianna Lazzari, Martino Serapioni, Sanja Brajković, Ingrid Engdahl, Henriette Heimgaertner, Liesbeth Lambert, and Network member Hester Hulpia.

The report explores the different ways in which European Union Member States have attempted to ensure high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for children and families in times of COVID-19. The central aim of this study is to examine what measures have been taken by selected EU member states and regions – Sweden and Croatia, Flanders in Belgium, Berlin in Germany and Emilia-Romagna in Italy – to deal with the COVID-19 crisis during the first year of the pandemic (March-December 2020), in order to ensure quality ECEC. The report provides a synthesis of emerging evidence on how COVID-19 has affected following aspects of ECEC:

  • Accessibility;
  • Workforce;
  • Curriculum;
  • Monitoring and evaluation;
  • Governance and funding.

The data analysed shows that ECEC played a crucial role in countering the negative effects of the pandemic on children, families and communities. However, compared with other levels of education, ECEC appears to have been one of the sectors most vulnerable to the policy decisions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the report focuses on specific EU member states and regions, coping strategies and lessons learnt presented in the report can be relevant for other EU member states and regions.

Access the full report, executive summaries in English, French and German, and a summarising one-pager in our Library.