The VALUE project is inspired by General Comment 7 on the UN Children Right’s Convention. This General Comment arises out of the Committee’s experiences of reviewing States parties’ reports. In many cases, very little information has been offered about early childhood. Therefore, the aim of this General Comment is to encourage recognition that young children are holders of all rights enshrined in the Convention and that early childhood is a critical period for the realization of these rights.

This comment, amongst others, includes a strong plea for professional training for all staff:

Provision of services appropriate to the circumstances, age and individuality of young children requires that all staff be trained to work with this age group. Work with young children should be socially valued and properly paid, in order to attract a highly qualified workforce, men as well as women. It is essential that they have sound, up-to-date theoretical and practical understanding about children’s rights and development (see also paragraph 41); that they adopt appropriate child-centred care practices, curricula and pedagogies; and that they have access to specialist professional resources and support, including a supervisory and monitoring system for public and private programmes, institutions and services.” (United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF & Bernard van Leer Foundation, 2006, p 45).

Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care is the report of the Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care under the auspices of the European Commission. The proposed Quality framework identifies 5 key components of a qualitative system:

1.       access to early childhood education and care,

2.       training and working conditions of staff in charge of early childhood education and care,

3.       definition of appropriate curricula and governance,

4.       funding,

5.       monitoring and evaluation of systems.

Based on this report, the European Council adopted on 22 May 2019 the Council Recommendation on High-Quality Early Childhood Education and Care Systems. This  Council Recommendation aims to support Member States in their efforts to improve access to and quality of their early childhood education and care systems

NESET II AR1 / 2016 Analytical Report

The VALUE project builds upon the research findings in the NESET II publication Professionalisation of Childcare Assistants in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Pathways towards Qualification (Peeters, J., Sharmahd, N., Budginaitė, I., 2016). This analytical report was prepared for the European Commission.

In many countries, part of the workforce is represented by low qualified ECEC assistants. Investing in the professionalization of assistants represents a key element for ECEC quality improvement, especially since in a number of countries the share of assistants in the services is rapidly growing. This growth needs to be accompanied by a strong investment in competent systems that value the contributions of all staff, and involve the whole workforce in continuous professional development. The report gives an overview on the situation concerning ECEC assistants in 15 Member States.

Building on the findings of the CoRe study (Urban et al., 2011; Vandenbroeck et al., 2016), the report reviews the profiles of ECEC assistants and their professionalization opportunities. Recommendations on how to develop coherent pathways towards qualification and continuous professional development (CPD) for assistants are described. In addition, examples of successful pathways towards qualification and CPD in three selected European countries are presented (Denmark, France, Slovenia).