Early childhood care and education

Key points

  • The Committee acknowledges and supports the efforts made by the European Commission and Member States to develop and strengthen high-quality, affordable and accessible childcare, including early childhood education and care facilities.
  • Member States have to provide opportunities for individuals and families to make personal choices, decisions, and express their preferences for the form and duration of their children's care.
  • The EESC stresses the need to focus on special groups of children, primarily the most vulnerable groups of children with special needs, disabled, migrant, ethnic minorities, socially excluded and those living without their parents.
  • The Committee sees high-quality childcare as an opportunity to increase the quality of life and help reconcile working, private and family life for all members of the family, in addition to strengthening the labour market participation of women and generating a higher income for the family.
  • The EESC welcomes the fact that different forms of care and services for children are available for different age groups, not only for children who have not yet reached school age but also after-school, leisure and non-formal education activities.
  • The qualification of the labour force employed in childcare, gender balance, prestige and payment services needs further improvement.
  • The Committee strongly supports the recognition for the responsibility of the Member States, and the social partners' growing commitment to contributing to the improvement of universal, flexible education and care opportunities for all children.