Inclusive Early Childhood Education – Literature Review

This literature review on Early Childhood Education (ECE)/Inclusive Early Childhood
Education (IECE) is part of the ‘Inclusive Early Childhood Education’ project, conducted by
the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. The project’s overall goal
is to identify and analyse the factors that enable quality and effective pre-primary
programmes for all children in inclusive early years settings.
This review shows that international organisations and the European Union (EU) regard
high-quality ECE/IECE as an essential foundation for lifelong learning. It is indispensable
for success in modern knowledge-based economies. Participation in high-quality preprimary
education has long-lasting positive effects on children’s development and the
benefits are greater for children from a disadvantaged background (Frawley, 2014). In
many cases, the early childhood stage is critical because many children’s different needs
are detected once they become part of the education system. Therefore, one EU
benchmark in the strategic framework for European co-operation in education and
training (ET 2020) is that at least 95% of children between the age of four and compulsory
school age should participate in ECE.

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