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Early Childhood Services in the OECD Countries: Review of the literature and current policy in the early childhood field


  • John Bennett


The aim of this publication is to provide a review of the literature and current policies of early childhood education and care in the economically most advanced countries of the world. The introductory chapter provides some basic definitions: what is meant by 'early childhood services' both in the narrow sense of care and education services for young children (family day care, childcare centres, pre-primary educational services, integrated services, etc.) and in the wider sense of services supporting the holistic development of young children. Subsequent chapters address: the rights and well-being of young children; the economic and social context of children's services; state investment in early childhood services. Chapter 2 addresses the question of the rights and well-being of young children. Chapter 3 explores the economic and social context of children's services, and seek to explain the contemporary focus on the upbringing and education of young children. Chapter 4 provides a rationale for substantial state investment in early childhood services. Chapter 5 recalls briefly the promise that participation in high-quality early childhood services holds for the individual child and at a wider level, for society as a whole. A short conclusion proposes a dynamic social market model that brings together the dynamism and choice that market approaches can present with the strong investment, effective control and equity in access that public systems have traditionally offered in several countries.

Suggested Citation

  • John Bennett, 2008. "Early Childhood Services in the OECD Countries: Review of the literature and current policy in the early childhood field," Papers inwopa08/50, Innocenti Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucf:inwopa:inwopa08/50

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 1996. "Resources, Deprivation, and Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287858, June.
    2. Levin, Henry M. & Schwartz, Heather L., 2007. "Educational vouchers for universal pre-schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-16, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Russ, Shirley & Garro, Nicole & Halfon, Neal, 2010. "Meeting children's basic health needs: From patchwork to tapestry," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1149-1164, September.

    More about this item


    basic services; early childhood; early childhood development; early childhood education;

    JEL classification:

    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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