Early Childhood Workforce Initiative

90% of the brain’s capacity develops before the age of 5, yet the workforce who serves young children is too often undervalued, underpaid and inadequately prepared.

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.

Who is the workforce?
While teachers are a crucial part of ECD services, they make up just a fraction of the early years workforce. Decades of research have shown that home visitors can increase parental wellbeing and efficacy, decrease child maltreatment and improve child outcomes. Across sectors, too little is known about those working with families and very young children as well as those who mentor them. By providing a clear picture of the early years workforce, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative aims to help policymakers in specific countries support the development of a quality workforce.


What can we 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

The Initiative's co-hosts, Results for Development and ISSA, have 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.


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.

The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative’s Country Briefs illustrate inspiring responses to challenges faced by the early childhood workforce.

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