ABSTRACT

What can we learn from comparing early childhood policies and programs across countries? How do cross-country analyses shed light on the social construction of children in different societies? What are the benefits and limitations of such comparisons? This chapter answers these questions by reflecting on the origins, implementation, and findings of the first OECD thematic review of early childhood education and care policy in 12 countries, which led to the report Starting Strong. I discuss how peer review helped unearth challenges and strengths of different national systems and also built active networks of government officials, researchers, and practitioners focused on improving policies for young children. On a more personal level, I share how working with John Bennett on this study influenced my research and professional activities.