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Hand in hand: Improving the links between ECEC and schools in OECD countries

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Prepared for the Consultative Meeting on International Developments in ECEC, The Institute for Child and Family Policy at Columbia University
Neuman, Michelle
Publication Date: 
11 May 2000


Most children living in OECD countries will spend at least two years in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings before beginning primary school (OECD, 1997). It is recognised cross-nationally that the transition from ECEC to school is a critical passage for these young children and their families. Close cooperation between ECEC and schools can ease children's transitions and promote continuity in their learning (Shore, 1998). This paper explores efforts to link ECEC and schools in OECD countries, other than the U.S. The context for children's transitions from ECEC to school, the ways in which transitions are understood, and some of the barriers to improving links between ECEC and schools are discussed. The second part of the paper presents and analyses different strategies to promote continuity for children as they move from ECEC to school. Examples from OECD countries illustrate some of the diverse approaches. Possible lessons from these international experiences are highlighted with the aim of informing efforts to strengthen the links between ECEC and schools in the U.S. and in other OECD countries.