In Sweden, all children are considered to be entitled to a child care place. For over three decades, child care has been an integral part of the Swedish welfare state and of most families' everyday lives. In 1998 the government moved responsibility for child care from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs to the Ministry of Education and Research as part of an effort to reform and expand early childhood education and care. The Curriculum for Preschool was released in August of that year and preschool became "the first step in the education system for children". In 2003, four- and five-year-olds became entitled to 525 free hours of child care a year. In short, Sweden continues its commitment to an ECEC system that is designed to meet the twin aims of supporting children's development, education and well-being and helping parents to balance parenthood and employment or study.
This ISSUE File highlights useful online resources detailing and discussing Sweden's highly developed ECEC system. Material is divided into four sections. Entries are organized from the most recent to the least recent.