Three: Towards universal quality early childhood education and care: The Norwegian model

This chapter examines the extent to which disadvantaged children are able to access high quality early childhood education and care in Norway. Universal access to “kindergarten” is legislated as a social right for children age 1-6, and indeed the great majority of children in this age group – 90% – are enrolled. The private sector is quite heavily involved in actual service delivery (with about half of all institutions privately owned), but this has not prevented the system from delivering generally high quality provision, in large part because of the education levels of ECEC staff, including a high share of graduate pedagogues (teachers specialising in the early years). The chapter discusses recent policy efforts which have focused on expanding access to services at a reasonable cost for parents as well as strengthening the quality of services, with positive results in relation to the inclusion of children with low income or low educated parents.

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