Skip to main content
European School Education Platform

Evaluating quality in early childhood education and care: Objectives and principles

News item

Evaluating quality in early childhood education and care: Objectives and principles

For all children to benefit fully from early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, it is essential that ECEC provision is of high quality. This must be guaranteed by an efficient monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system.
Working around a table
Image: European Commission

The first report by the European Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC WG) looks at the purposes, values, and principles that should guide decision-makers when setting up an M&E system.


First, the ECEC WG identified the three main purposes of a monitoring and evaluation system, which must be balanced.


  • Quality control: to ensure that quality standards are met at national and sub-national levels.
  • Quality improvement: to foster developments in the ECEC sector and achieve more consistency and equality in opportunities across the whole system.
  • Policy learning: to inform policymakers and the public of the efficiency of the ECEC system.

It also argues that the values of ECEC, outlined in the European Quality Framework, should underpin monitoring and evaluation activities.


  • A clear image and voice of the child.
  • Education and care as intertwined aspects of early childhood pedagogy.
  • Staff professionalisation and well-being.
  • Parental participation, as the most important partners in ECEC provision, is essential.
  • Inclusiveness as an integral aspect of a high-quality ECEC system.
  • A vision of ECEC as a public good.

These values should then inform the basic principles of monitoring and evaluation activities.


  • Democratic and participatory,
  • Accountable and transparent,
  • Impactful and supportive,
  • Holistic and inclusive,
  • Contextualised and responsive,
  • Equitable and consistent.



Finally, the ECEC WG identified several challenges, e.g., M&E fatigue, lack of time among ECEC staff, and too much focus on quality control rather than quality improvement. The report also considers the pros and cons of publishing M&E results and suggests some ideas on how to avoid these pitfalls.

The ECEC WG is now focusing on the cooperation between the different levels of governance and actors involved in M&E processes and plans to publish its next report in spring 2023.



Additional information

  • Education type:
    Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Target audience:
    Government / policy maker
    Head Teacher / Principal
    Student Teacher
    Teacher Educator
  • Target audience ISCED:
    Early childhood education (ISCED 0)


Early Childhood Education and Care
Policy development