Value-based regulation of ECEC for equity and inclusiveness

ISOTIS partner International Step by Step Association (ISSA) is holding the Annual Conference with the theme "Nurturing Environments" (

This year’s conference theme draws attention to the systemic nature of the environments in which young children live, learn, play and develop, such as the home environment, early childhood services and other spaces in neighborhoods, communities and cities. Each experience along the way has the potential to shape the life of a young child.

Today, ISOTIS coordinator Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) delivered a keynote during the conference titled "Value-based regulation of early childhood education and care for equity and inclusiveness".

The abstract of this keynote is the following:

"The early childhood education and care (ECEC) field across the world has undergone many changes in the past decades, with partly promising but partly also threatening developments. There is definitively a trend towards more unification and integration, and also the availability and accessibility of ECEC have increased substantially in many countries, at least for the 3- to 6-year-olds. These developments reflect the increasing awareness that high quality ECEC can contribute importantly to tackling pertinent societal issues such as educational inequality and social exclusion. At the same time countries are struggling with the governance and funding of ECEC. Increased privatization and marketization have contributed to the expansion of ECEC provision and have led to increased access for all children, but major challenges remain regarding the quality and inclusiveness of ECEC and related support services. Especially the inclusion of children from migrant and ethnic minority communities is an urgent, still unresolved issue, calling for policies that can eliminate financial and cultural barriers. Most countries nowadays have hybrid ECEC systems, with public and private organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, operating in a partly harmonized market. Whereas governance and harmonization strategies still predominantly focus on regulation of costs-related structural quality characteristics, evidence suggests that value-based governance, giving statutory prominence to children’s rights and to the principles of equity and (cultural) inclusiveness, together with decentralization of responsibilities to the local level holds the best promise for reaching out to all children while maintaining high quality."

This abstract was retrieved from:

Paul Leseman discusses current early childhood development research in the ISSA video below.