Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

International Resources on Early Intervention

Topic editor: Sonya Detwiler

Most recent additions to this page:

  • Starting Strong 2017: Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care -
    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its 2017 report providing an exhaustive overview of key indicators global-wide and new trend data affecting early childhood education and care (ECEC). The report focuses on issues, such as access and governance, equity, financing, curriculum, the teaching workforce and parent engagement. It also identifies the key challenges for improving ECEC.

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.

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.

  • A Good Start: Advances in Early Childhood Development (June 2015) - This special issue of Early Childhood Matters marks the 50th anniversary of the Bernard van Leer Foundation's first grant in early childhood. It is guest-edited by Joan Lombardi and includes contributions from experts on a range of subjects including brain science, nutrition, home visiting, parent support, pre-primary, fatherhood, emergency contexts, and children with disabilities, measurement and leadership. Examples of early childhood programmes from around the world are included.

WWW: The Brookings Institute

The Brookings Institute is a nonprofit public policy organization and independent research firm that offers data reports and blog articles on various topics, including: WWW: Early Childhood Education.

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: The Child & Family Blog (launched July 2014)

This blog brings together experts from across the world who share and conduct research related to the well-being of children and family. The emphasis is on improving the lives of children based on cutting-edge research. Articles are translated in multiple languages and are intended to serve as an international resource for the media, policy makers, professionals who care for children, and families. It is sponsored by The Future of Children, a collaboration of the Brookings Institution and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as the University of Cambridge Applied Developmental Psychology Group in England, and the Jacobs Foundation in Switzerland.

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

The CGECCD is a global inter-agency consortium that focuses on young children (age 0-8), 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.

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.

WWW: European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education conducts country reviews and analysis work regarding early childhood inclusion in nearly 30 European countries. Read about their WWW: Inclusive Early Childhood Education Project (2015-2017) or see their WWW: annual report for a summary of their recent work.

Eurydice Network

The WWW: Eurydice network supports and facilitates European cooperation in the field of lifelong learning by providing information on education systems and policies in 38 countries and by producing studies on issues common to European education systems. Read their report Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe (2014 Edition) that provides 61 indicators and a comparative analysis on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in 32 European countries. The report discusses the challenges facing European countries related to providing quality services for young children, covering issues such as access to ECEC, governance, quality assurance, affordability, qualifications and training of staff, leadership, parent involvement, and measures to support disadvantaged children. See highlights here.

Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group - Early Childhood Education (December 2015)

This paper summarizes the literature on early childhood education and childcare, considering the evidence from means-tested demonstration programs, large-scale means-tested programs and universal programs without means testing. The evidence from high-quality demonstration programs targeted toward disadvantaged children shows beneficial effects, with returns exceeding costs.

International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)

The IEA is an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. It conducts large-scale comparative studies of educational achievement and other aspects of education. IEA's International Early Childhood Education Study (ECES) aims to explore, describe, and analyze early childhood education provision, and its role in preparing children to learn and function both in school and society.

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.

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.

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

The OECD, a collaborative international organization, provides a forum for governments to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. Since 1996, OECD has had a special initiative focused on early childhood and early care (ECEC). The OECD provides reports and recommendations from the ECEC initiative, including:

OECD also offers the following resources for the early childhood community: Families and Children and Early Childhood and Schools.

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

This 2011 Social Policy Report 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.

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 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.
  • Marope, P.T.M., & Kaga, Y. (Eds.) (2015). Investing against Evidence: The Global State of Early Childhood Care and Education. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.
    This book is part of UNESCO's Education on the Move series. The first part discusses understanding Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as a right and a development imperative. The second part discusses meeting the challenges of inequality in and through ECCE. The third part focuses on ensuring quality ECCE through contextually relevant provisions.
  • 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.
  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

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 H326P170001 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.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2018 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute