Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

International Resources on Early Intervention

International Resources on Early Intervention topic editor: Sue Goode

Most recent additions to this page:

Large numbers of infants and young children around the world are at-risk for developmental delays due to factors such as poverty, malnutrition, trauma, and low birthweight. This Web page is meant to be a starting point for individuals interested in learning more about the international landscape of early care and intervention services for vulnerable young children and their families. It provides links to some key organizations and resources that will hopefully give even casual browsers an idea of how much information is available, who produces it, and why it is important to consider other countries' policies and practices in this field and how they are similar to or different from our own.

Professional Associations

WWW: CEC's Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES)

DISES, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children, is meant to serve as a catalyst for the international exchange of information on practice, research, technologies, and issues related to education and services for children and youth who have disabilities and/or are gifted and talented.

WWW: International Society on Early Intervention (ISEI)

ISEI provides a forum for professionals from around the world to communicate about advances in the field of early intervention. Linkages between basic science and applied research, interdisciplinary collaborations, and connections between research and practice are emphasized. The ISEI Web site includes an online Professional Training Resource Library with free training materials in the field of early intervention. ISEI has also sponsored a Book Series on International Issues in Early Intervention.

WWW: International Step by Step Association (ISSA)

ISSA was established in the Netherlands in 1999 to connect professionals and organizations working in the field of early childhood development and education. Today its network reaches across the globe from Europe to Asia and the Americas. ISSA promotes equal access to quality education and care for all children, especially in the early years of their lives. Each year ISSA organizes an Annual Conference, bringing together early childhood experts from more than 35 countries to exchange ideas and experience.

Non-profit Organizations, Institutes, IGOs, NGOs

WWW: Bernard van Leer Foundation

The Bernard van Leer Foundation funds and shares knowledge about work in early childhood development. Its mission is to develop and support programmes that create significant positive change for children up to the age of eight who are growing up in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage. Its vision is one of a world where, in spite of such circumstances, young children reach their full potential.

WWW: The Brookings Institute

Early Childhood Development: the Promise, the Problem, and the Path Forward (November 2013). This paper by Tamar Atinc and Emily Gustafsson-Wright discusses the gains to be had from investing in early childhood development programs toward improved health and education for millions of children under five around the world.

In December 2008, the Brooking Institute's Early Child Development (ECD) Initiative hosted the second conference in a series of international events on Early Child Development for the Developing World. After the conference, a related discussion took place on the importance of early child development and its impact on sustainable economic development. A PDF: transcript of the discussion (2008) is available online.

WWW: The Commonwealth Fund

The Commonwealth Fund's Section on Child Health/Development promotes improved quality of and access to health care services for society's most vulnerable young children. A Commonwealth Fund report, entitled An International Comparison of Early Childhood Initiatives: From Services to Systems (2009), describes efforts of the United States, England, Canada, and Australia to develop early childhood policies that produce lasting gains for young children.

WWW: Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development (CGECCD)

The CGECCD is a global inter-agency consortium that focuses on young children (prenatal to 8yrs), their families and communities. It works to identify gaps, critical issues and emerging areas of need and interest related to early childhood care and development. Its mission is to improve early childhood policy and practice focusing on children in disadvantaged circumstances.

WWW: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

The EIU was commissioned by the Lien Foundation to produce PDF: Starting Well: Benchmarking Early Education Across the World (2012), a report that looks at the extent to which 45 countries provide a good preschool environment for children between the ages of three and six, specifically considering the relative availability, affordability and quality of preschool. Some of the key findings show that Finland, Sweden and Norway perform best, while many high-income countries rank poorly (including the U.S, which ranked 24th). The lower ranking for the U.S. is not because quality preschool programs are lacking, but because they are not available or affordable to all strands of society and quality standards vary widely from one area of the country to another.

WWW: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education - Early Childhood Intervention Project

The European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education was established to provide a platform for collaboration in the field of special needs education. It is maintained by the Ministries of Education within the member countries: Austria, Belgium (Flemish and French speaking communities), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. The Early Childhood Intervention project examined Early Childhood Intervention services, training of professionals and other relevant national information in 19 European countries from 2003 to 2004.

WWW: National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) - Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions Across the World

This analysis of early childhood interventions from 23 countries showed substantial cognitive, behavioral, health and schooling benefits that were sustained over time. The authors also found that education and nutritional assistance together seems to improve child development more than nutritional assistance alone. (2009)

WWW: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - Early Childhood Education and Care

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a collaborative international organization, provides a forum for governments to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. OECD has had a special initiative focused on early childhood and early care (ECEC) since 1996. This Web site provides reports and recommendations from the ECEC initiative, including, for example:

OECD also has initiatives related to Families and Children and Preschool and School, which produce information of interest to the early childhood community. For example, see the following reports:

PDF: Society for Research in Child Development: Quality of Early Childhood Development Programs in Global Contexts

This Social Policy Report from the Society for Research in Child Development provides a conceptualization of quality across Early childhood development (ECD) settings and systems and identifies future directions for improving the quality of ECD programs globally. (2011)

WWW: UNESCO - Early Childhood Care and Education

The mission of UNESCO's early childhood programme 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 children. Of special interest see:

WWW: UNICEF's Early Childhood Focus Areas

UNICEF works with governments, national and international agencies, and civil society to support each phase of the life cycle of the child. UNICEF focuses on three areas of intervention for early childhood development:

  1. quality basic health, education and protection services;
  2. good care practices for children within the family and community; and
  3. early child development policies.

Some related resources include:

WWW: World Health Organization (WHO) - Child Health

The World Health Organizationis is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. This site provides links to WHO resources on the topic of child development. Some additional highlights on the WHO Web site include:


WWW: Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development

(Tables of contents and abstracts only)

The importance of early childhood education and care in providing the foundations for lifelong learning is now widely acknowledged. This journal aims to broaden the international debate about the best provision for young children by representing a wide range of perspectives from different countries, different disciplines and different research methodologies. As the official journal of TACTYC (Training, Advancement and Co-operation in Teaching Young Children), Early Years publishes up-to-date papers on all issues associated with early years education. An email table-of-contents alert service is available free of charge.

WWW: International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy (ICEP)

Published by the Korean Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE), this peer-reviewed journal publishes empirical, theoretical, and applied articles reporting research findings on child care and education policy. It is disseminated to a broad international audience, including government officials, researchers and practitioners.

WWW: International Journal of Disability, Development and Education

(Tables of contents and abstracts available online)

Founded in 1954, this is a multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal with an international focus. It provides a single source of information on the education and development of persons with disabilities. IJDDE aims to publish the very best research and review articles concerned with all aspects of education, human development, special education and rehabilitation. An email table-of-contents alert service is available free of charge.

WWW: International Journal of Early Childhood

(Table of contents only available online)

The International Journal of Early Childhood is a blind, peer reviewed journal with members from organizations and libraries in over seventy countries throughout the world. It is distributed twice yearly and features articles in English, French, and Spanish. The journal focuses on key issues in the field of early childhood education and care (ECE). Themes of specific interest are: making children in different cultures visible, multicultural and cross-cultural studies, children's learning and sustainable development, infants and toddlers in ECE, children's rights, and curriculum questions relatd to ECE.

WWW: International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education (INT-JECSE)

This online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal offers scholarly articles on various issues related to young children with special needs (0-8 age) and their families. INT-JECSE publishes empirical research, literature reviews, theoretical articles, and book reviews in all aspects of Early Intervention (EI)/Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). Studies from diverse methodologies, including experimental studies using group or single-subject designs, descriptive studies using observational or survey methodologies, case studies, and qualitative studies, are welcome. The INT-JECSE is published twice (June and December) a year.

WWW: International Journal of Early Years Education

(Tables of contents and abstracts available online)

International Journal of Early Years Education is a forum for researchers and practitioners to debate the theories, research, policy and practice which sustain effective early years education world-wide. It offers a comparative perspective on research and major new initiatives in the care and education of young children. Since its inception the journal has carried reports and research articles which evaluate and highlight innovative practice throughout the international community. An email table-of-contents alert service is available free of charge.


  • Clifford, R. & Crawford, G. (Eds.). (2009). WWW: Beginning School: US Policies in International Perspective. Chapel Hill, NC: The FPG Child Development Institute.
    This book provides a history of early education and care in the United States and examines the different ways in which France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States have approached similar challenges related to delivering, governing, and financing early education programs for young children. A brief report, PDF: Issues in Education for Children Three to Eight in Six Countries (2009), is available online.
  • Guralnick, M. J. (Ed.). (2005). WWW: The Developmental Systems Approach to Early Intervention. Baltimore: Brookes.
    This is the third volume in the ISEI International Issues in Early Intervention series. It describes a consistent, coherent, and effective early intervention system made up of a state-of-the-art, research-based developmental systems model to guide programs for children from birth to 5 years of age. It includes three core principles of the developmental systems model and describes practices in the U.S. and in other countries.
  • Guralnick, M. J. (Ed.). (2000). WWW: Interdisciplinary Clinical Assessment of Young Children with Developmental Disabilities. Baltimore: Brookes.
    This is the first volume in the ISEI International Issues in Early Intervention series. It features case studies that provide an inside look at how team members jointly consider biological, societal, and cultural factors in designing intervention plans.
  • Odom, S.L., Hanson, M.J., Blackman, M.A., & Kaul, S. (Eds.). (2003). WWW: Early Intervention Practices Around the World. Baltimore: Brookes.
    This is the second volume in the ISEI International Issues in Early Intervention series. It spotlights effective, innovative practices at work in China, Sweden, Ethiopia, Portugal, India, Israel, Australia, Germany, and more. The book provides an overview of and rationale for early intervention and contains chapters built around early intervention practices in four areas: service delivery, family support, professional development and organizational support.
  • Tobin, J., Hsueh, Y., & Karasawa, M. (2009). WWW: Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
    This book revisits three preschools featured in the original book, Preschool in Three Cultures, which was published twenty years ago and explored the different ways preschoolers are taught in China, Japan, and the United States. The authors look at how two decades of globalization and social transformation have affected the approach of these three cultures to early childhood education and examine the patterns and processes of continuity and change in each country.
Links on this site are verified monthly. This page content was last updated on 03/26/2014 SG

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

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  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
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The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

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