Early Childhood Workforce Initiative

Recognition of the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services is increasing in many parts of the world. Still, little attention is placed on one of the most critical factors in influencing children’s learning development – the early years workforce. The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative strives to place more attention on these professionals and para-professionals. It is a global, multi-sectoral effort to produce new knowledge and equip decision makers with tools and resources to support the development of a quality early childhood workforce at scale.

The Challenge

A growing body of evidence links well-trained and supported early childhood personnel with the achievement of positive developmental outcomes for children. Yet, despite increased interest in developing effective early childhood development systems, greater efforts are needed to strengthen the preparation and support of those working with young children and their families (e.g. home visitors, preschool staff, community health workers).

Across sectors, little is known about those working with families and very young children. Limited resources and attention constrain efforts to scale-up a quality early childhood workforce.


What do we aim to achieve?
The Initiative works to strengthen policies and country strategies around enhancing the skills, preparation, training and employment conditions of those who work with young children. By improving the capacities and satisfaction of the workforce the quality of early childhood experiences can significantly enhance. Along with policy makers and early childhood communities, the Initiative can support the early years workforce in order to ensure each child receives the best possible education and care. We can achieve -

  • The creation of solid competencies and standards that guide the work of early childcare workers
  • The development of career pathways with diverse entry points/levels and a clear progression route for the workforce
  • Systems for continuous feedback and coaching that ensure workers receive opportunities to improve their practice
  • Improved status, salaries and working conditions for early childcare workers

Since its inception, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative has strengthened the evidence base for the creation of a quality workforce. For the first time, research examines global challenges facing ECD practitioners and their preparation and training, and analyzes ways to strengthen and scale the workforce in various countries.

Currently, the Initiative is working to improve the understanding of key workforce issues in specific contexts through interviews, highlight innovative or promising workforce practices in countries, and pilot a needs assessment tool to equip policy and decision makers with knowledge to strategically support the development of a quality workforce at scale.

As change cannot be attained without sufficient information, the Initiative continuously works to produce new knowledge which facilitates practical steps toward improved early childhood education and care. The Initiative has created a space for learning and knowledge sharing. Our Knowledge Hub is home to more than 200 resources for early years practitioners, researchers, trainers, mentors, administrators and policy makers. By filling gaps in knowledge between these groups, we aim to raise the capabilities and recognition of the early years workforce.



The International Step by Step Association (ISSA), the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN), the Arab Network for Early Childhood (ANECD), the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC), and Results for Development

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View previous campaigns.



The ECWI began a new phase in 2023 and continues advocating for the early childhood workforce.

This brief seeks to shed light on these questions, using the five priority actions to support the early childhood workforce outlined in ECWI’s COVID-19 Position Statement as a guide.

The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative launches the brand new User's Guide for the Home Visiting Workforce Needs Assessment Tool today.

The Early Childhood Workforcce Iniatives looks toward building a stronger ECD knowledge hub and disseminating the Home Visiting Workforce Needs Assessment Tool.