EduLIFE > Childcare and Early Education

Childcare and Early Education

edulife book4 picture


Blossfeld, H.-P., Kulic, N. Skopek, J., and Triventi, M. (Eds.) (forthcoming): Childcare, Early Education and Social Inequality – An International Perspective. eduLIFE Lifelong Learning Series. Vol. 4. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.


In focus:

A cross country comparison of access and quality to early education and childcare, and its short- and long-term effects on individuals from different social backgrounds


Core findings in a nutshell

  • Families’ socioeconomic and cultural conditions influence their decisions on the type of childcare arrangements, when to start with formal childcare, and how much of it to use

  • Parental decisions and their consequences for child development depend on the country-specific availability and characteristics of early education and care

  • Good quality early education benefits all children, and it may be particularly advantageous for disadvantaged families

  • Although early education may reduce the social gap between children of different social backgrounds, it cannot fully eliminate social inequalities

  • The comparative chapter points to an overall positive link between pre-school attendance and reading competencies in primary and secondary school. This relationship is stronger in countries with pre-school systems of good quality and longer weekly attendance hours. In two countries with favorable pre-school system, Denmark and Finland, children of low-educated parents seem to benefit more from early pre-school attendance than those of higher-educated parents (‘equalizing effect’).

Selected country-specific highlights

  • United Kingdom: childcare attendance at the age of 18 months has a positive impact on children’s cognitive outcomes, which is stronger for children from low socio–economic background. Extending early education to all disadvantaged 2 year olds may be a good policy instrument to reduce social inequalities.

  • Netherlands: successful early education policy for alleviating early social inequalities. Preschools with larger share of disadvantaged children provide higher quality of early education in comparison to other preschools.

  • Italy: the use of childcare for the very young Italian children (0-18 months) has doubled from 2002 to 2012, standing at 24%. However, there is an important South-North divide.

External collaborators

External collaborators for childcare and early education phase (in alphabetical order, by country study):

Denmark: Asta Breinholt Lund

Finland: Aleksi Karhula, Jani Erola, Elina Kilpi-Jakonen

Germany: Manja Attig, Hans-Gunther Rossbach, Sabine Weinert

Ireland: Frances McGinnity, Aisling Murray, Helen Russell

Italy: Ylenia Brilli

Netherlands: Paul Leseman, Martine Broekuizen, Hanna Mulder, Saskia Van Schaik, Pauline Slot, Josje Verhagen, Jan Boom

Norway: Henrik Daae Zachrisson, Eric Dearing, Sigrid Blomeke, T Moser

Russia: Gordey Yastrebov

Sweden: Ida Viklund, Ann-Zofie Duvander

Switzerland: Sandra Hupka-Brunner, Christian Imdorf

United Kingdom: Daniela Del Boca, Daniela Piazzalunga, Chiara Pronzato

USA: William Steven Barnett, Ellen Frede

International comparative study: Gosta Esping-Andersen

Latest News
Outcomes of the final conference of the eduLIFE project

Outcomes of the final conference of the eduLIFE project

short report on the eduLIFE final conference
Final Conference of the eduLIFE project

Final Conference of the eduLIFE project

At the final conference, the eduLIFE research team will present and discuss the key results of the project with outstanding experts in the field. 23-24 May 2016, Badia Fiesolana

Page last updated on 17 August 2017