Two New Reports Aim to Strengthen the Early Childhood Workforce

January 31, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI) today released two reports that shed critical insights on how policymakers and others can better support the child care workers, preschool teachers, teacher assistants, social workers, community health workers and nurses, who — through their day-to-day interactions — have the opportunity to transform a child’s developmental trajectory.

The ECWI reports — Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Competences and Standards and Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Training and Professional Development — represent the first attempt to review and synthesize global literature and experiences on these two topics across early childhood sectors and roles. Produced by a team at Results for Development and the International Step by Step Association, the reports offer insights and examples of how competences and standards and training and professional development can be effectively developed and used across the early childhood workforce.

“Support for and interest in early childhood development programs are increasing, but we need more information to better support the people who work in this field.” said Vidya Putcha, senior program officer at Results for Development. “We frequently see early childhood workforce insights trapped within a particular sector or context, but these reports try to break that mold by identifying lessons from across sectors and roles while pointing to successful policy and programmatic examples in action.”

Research shows that the early childhood workforce is one of the most important factors influencing the quality of early childhood development services. For example, in the early childhood education sector, evidence indicates that caregivers’ level of education and participation in training is a better predictor of program quality than other factors such as child-staff ratios or group size. As similar evidence accumulates, so too is the potential for investments in the early childhood workforce to support long-term progress.

The ECWI team explored competences and standards — what a worker in a specific role should know and be able to do and the requirements a worker must meet in order to assume a role —  because of the important role they can play in increasing the relevance of training and professional development, enhancing the quality of monitoring and mentoring opportunities, supporting professionalization of the workforce, and bolstering workforce planning efforts.

The theme of training and professional development was examined because there is increasing demand to ensure effective preparation and continuous support to professionals and paraprofessionals so that their daily practices improve.

These reports are the latest in a series of resources being developed by the ECWI team to mobilize support for the early childhood workforce.

To download the full version of Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Competences and Standards, click here.

To download the full version of Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Training and Professional Development, click here.


About the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative

The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative focuses on the country system and policy level to support and empower those who work with families and children under age 8 (e.g. home visitors, preschool staff, community health workers), as well as those who supervise and mentor practitioners (e.g. supervisors, mentors and coaches, trainers). This initiative takes a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to bridge gaps in policy and practice and promote high quality, equitable services. This initiative is co-hosted by the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and Results for Development. For more information, visit our website at:

About Results for Development

Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents around the world — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — to create strong systems that support healthy, educated people. We help our partners move from knowing their goal to knowing how to reach it. We combine global expertise in health, education and nutrition with analytic rigor, practical support for decision-making and implementation and access to peer problem-solving networks. Together with our partners, we build self-sustaining systems that serve everyone and deliver lasting results. Then we share what we learn so others can achieve results for development, too. For more information, visit our website at:

Featured photo ©Lane Goodman/R4D

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