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More than spaces: Creating universal child care in Norway

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Publication Date: 
12 Apr 2022


Norway is among the countries in the world in which early learning and child care (ELCC) has become a legal right. Today more than 90% of children 1-5 years attend full-time regardless of where they live, parental employment or financial circumstances. This case study examines the key levers, structures and policies used by the Norwegian national state to ensure that sufficient child care to achieve close to universal coverage was created and accessible to all. It pays special attention to the period of rapid expansion between 2003-2009, at the end of which ELCC became a legal entitlement. It emphasizes that it has been successful because Norway has done more than “create spaces” but has built an accessible, affordable, quality system for all children.