Child looking at book, Timor-Leste

©UNESCO/Katy Anis

The foundations of human development are laid during the child's early years and thus early childhood requires an integrated approach to the child's care, development and learning.

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than a preparatory stage assisting the child’s transition to formal schooling. Today, early childhood policies are placed within a broader context of social development, gender equity and poverty reduction.

UNESCO leads the international policy drive for an integrated early childhood care and education system that encompasses both the well-being and holistic development of the child. Our mission is to support early childhood policy development with the aim to build a solid foundation for a child’s lifelong learning.

UNESCO actively works with Member States in their efforts to develop and strengthen their national capacity to meet the first goal of the 2000 Dakar Framework for Action, which aims to expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education for all.

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