1. Early childhood education and care (ECEC, or “childcare”) is attracting growing policy attention. First, it is becoming more common. Young children are increasingly cared for out-of-home in day-care centres, kindergartens or pre-primary schools, rather than by parents or relatives at home. On average across EU countries, one-third of children under the age of three participate in out-of-home ECEC, rising to almost 90% for three- to fiveyear-olds.1
2. Second, high-quality ECEC carries many social and economic benefits. A growing body of research recognises that participation is beneficial for young children, especially those from low-income backgrounds (OECD, 2018; Browne and Neumann, 2017). Accessible, affordable and good-quality ECEC also protects against poverty and strengthens equality of opportunity by facilitating parental employment, boosting family income, and by promoting child development, child well-being, and success later in life (OECD, 2018; OECD, 2015; OECD, 2011).