Watch: world-renowned early childhood researcher Sharon Lynn Kagan on the release of The Early Advantage 2: Building Systems That Work for Young Children. Hosted by NCEE President & CEO Anthony Mackay, the event featured a presentation from Kagan on the book’s findings and discussion of its implications with leading voices in early childhood education and care.
As educators and policymakers around the globe grapple with how to best serve their youngest learners, a few systems are taking the lead. A new, groundbreaking study, The Early Advantage, finds that Australia, England, Finland, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Singapore are pioneering new but remarkably different visions for early childhood education and care (ECEC).
In the first book, The Early Advantage 1: Early Childhood Systems That Lead By Example, world-renowned early childhood researcher Sharon Lynn Kagan and her team of international experts examined the innovative approaches to early childhood policy, practice, and service delivery in these leading systems. Kagan and her team analyzed the quality, equity, efficiency and sustainability of services for young children in the six jurisdictions. The book takes readers on a deep dive into the innovative strategies and approaches to ECEC and offers an insider’s look into common challenges, themes and lessons from these diverse systems.
In the second volume, The Early Advantage: Building Systems that Work for Young Children, Kagan and her team extract the essential elements from six high-performing systems to determine what must be considered when creating and implementing programs and policies for young children and their families. Challenging conventional thinking, the text offers scores of concrete examples, as well as multiple strategies, considerations, and approaches useful to leaders worldwide.
“This study brings to light the striking new reality facing early childhood education and care systems around the world,” said Kagan. “For the first time, we are seeing clearly the disparate and rapidly evolving global perspectives in ECEC. These differing perspectives and approaches to the “how” and “what” of systemic change reflect a policy and research sphere that is at an inflection point. Our understanding of the significance of the early years is growing rapidly and the common effort to create public policy and programs that support young children during this critical time are, in many ways, scrambling to keep pace.”
"This important work is sure to be discussed for a long time. While focusing on social reform in six countries, there are abundant insights and implications for our work in the USA. The authors’ identification of 15 building blocks of high-performing ECEC systems offers us a brilliant analysis as we work to accelerate our nation’s progress. While my organization's focus is on those building blocks related to knowledgeable, supported, and well-compensated teachers, the other building blocks offer essential frameworks required to achieve that vision. The book clearly breaks new ground in systems thinking about ECEC."
“The Early Advantage is a seminal resource for crafting timely new approaches to needed social policy reforms. Kagan and her co-authors bring keen insights, pathbreaking cross-national scholarship, and practical guidance for leaders who wish to build a world-class early education for all children. Nested in sharp analytical case studies of best-in-class Nordic, Asian, and Anglo approaches to early education, Kagan and her co-authors have crafted a dynamic and strategic blueprint for action, starting now!"
"The last decade has seen unprecedented growth in early childhood education and care, but an insufficient knowledge base of what makes provision effective has left services fragmented and policymakers clueless about how to target scarce resources. The Early Advantage fills this gap, scanning the globe for what works best in what context and at scale, and establishing a systemic understanding of the pillars that underpin success."
"Framing their learnings from multiple countries into a skillfully designed set of inputs and outputs, the authors have provided a systems perspective to effective early childhood programs. This is a must-read for those engaged in city-, state-, and countrywide work of building programs that work for young children."
"With notable depth and breadth, this book pushes the thinking on the quality of early childhood systems and reflects on what it takes to build systems that are equitable, efficient, and sustainable. It is a timely reflection for policymakers in Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere."
"This essential work illustrates how nations can provide quality early education and care to young children through exemplary approaches from around the world. A vital resource from the leading global experts in the field, it is a must-read for all those seeking to meet the joys and challenges of advancing the development of their youngest citizens."
"Distilling lessons from six global examples of successful early childhood care and education systems, Kagan and colleagues provide a wealth of practical guidance for policymakers and practitioners worldwide interested in achieving quality early childhood policies and programs at national scale."
"Kagan and her team describe a field at a very important inflection point, and they provide a framework for pushing on to the next stage. My guess is that this book will be remembered not just for incisive reporting and analysis, but as the book the field needed to get to the other side of that inflection point."