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International Trends Impacting Young Children
January 27, 2003

"People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing."
–Will Rogers


UNESCO has just released "Policy Brief No. 8 on Early Childhood". This paper reflected on international trends that will have an impact on the demand for early childhood care and education. Included among the trends considered were rapid urbanization, movement of men and women from agricultural to nonagricultural work, and the need for a more highly educated work force in order for nations to compete effectively in a globalized economy. The paper concludes:

"First, transformations in the nature and location of parental work are limiting the availability of both fathers and mothers to care for young children. Second, extended family members are often not filling the gaps in care for young children because urbanization is separating nuclear and extended families in the location of their residence and because adult members are also often working. Third, in the absence of services, preschool children's health and development are placed at risk when they are left alone, in the care of other young children, or brought to work settings where parents cannot adequately care for them. Together, our findings document a large and growing need for improved care for young children in working families. This care should include both the opportunity for parental care made possible by paid parental leave....and ECCE services. Not only do the demographic trends underscore the large and growing demand for ECCE, but extensive research documents the enormous cognitive, social, and emotional developmental benefits of quality early childhood care and education. Moreover, both because of its role in supporting parental work and in improving children's educational outcomes, affordable, high quality ECCE plays an essential role in increasing countries' ability to compete in the global economy." 

To read the complete, policy brief, click on the following address:



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