ABSTRACT

The wide-ranging educational, economic and social benefits of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), at both individual and societal levels, are increasingly acknowledged in large parts of the world. Major changes in physical, socio-emotional and cognitive areas of development occur during these years, and meaningful educational experiences have been shown to have long-lasting effects upon a child’s cognitive development, socio-emotional development and learning (Pianta, Barnett, Burchinal, & Thornburg, 2009; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Sylva, 2010). International and European communities (EU, 2011; OECD, 2014; UNESCO, 2015; UN, 2015) regard quality of ECEC as a foundation for later school achievement, success in the modern knowledge based economy and lifelong learning.