This literature review was commissioned by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to provide policy makers with a synthesis of research that analyses the impact of early childhood education (ECE) for children and families. It addresses three questions: 1. What (short-term and long-term) developmental, educational, social, and economic outcomes are associated with participation in ECE for learners and their families? 2. Are different outcomes associated with different population groups and under different circumstances/ contexts? In particular: • What types of institutional (e.g. differences in educational/care systems, types of services), funding and regulatory arrangements/frameworks are associated with achieving positive outcomes? • When are adverse impacts more likely and for whom? 3. How do different outcomes interact/relate with one another? • What is the size/significance of the different impacts of ECE? • How long do the effects last?