Edited by: Sharon Lynn Kagan
With: Eva Landsberg
Foreword by: Marc Tucker
Publication Date: April 12, 2019
Learn how exemplary countries are advancing the development of their youngest citizens. Drawing on a groundbreaking study by Sharon Lynn Kagan and her colleagues, The Early Advantage 2 extracts 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. Readers will find that this vibrant, thoughtful volume honors local traditions, histories, and contexts as it extracts compelling approaches to advancing early childhood systems. Use this volume, along with The Early Advantage 1, for a complete insider’s guide to changing how we think about and enact innovative services and policies for young children.
The Early Advantage was funded and supported by the National Center on Education and the Economy’s Center on International Education Benchmarking as part of NCEE’s research into the 9 Building Blocks for a World-Class Education System.
Sharon Lynn Kagan is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy and co-director of the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) at Teachers College, Columbia University, and professor adjunct at the Child Study Center, Yale University. Her books include The Early Care and Education Teaching Workforce at the Fulcrum, Early Childhood Governance, and Early Childhood Systems. Eva Landsberg is a research assistant at NCCF at Teachers College, Columbia University.
“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 policy makers in Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.”
—M. Caridad Araujo, principal economist in the Social Protection and Health division, Inter-American Development Bank
"The Early Advantage provides a treasure chest of tested policies for improving early care and education from around the globe. Even more invaluable, each is placed within a coherent structure to guide analysis of tradeoffs and complementarities, how well new proposals will work, and what else is needed to support their success."
—W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors Professor and director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University
"Sharon Lynn Kagan, a giant of international early childhood education, has produced yet another must-read for early childhood professionals around the world. The volume takes a much-needed systems perspective to scale up quality early childhood services for all children. A brilliant piece of work!"
—Pia Rebello Britto, chief and senior advisor, Early Childhood Development, UNICEF
“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.” —Jacqueline Jones, president and CEO, Foundation for Child Development
"This is an invaluable resource for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners around the world committed to improving the lives of young children. The book offers a rich conceptualization of systemic problems and an equally compelling analysis of the need for a social strategy that promotes national and international efforts. The authors give readers a way of understanding the intersections among research, policy, and practice in creating agendas of change; highlight on-the-ground possibilities; and promote the translation of knowledge into action to enhance the education and development of young children and the diverse contexts that provide them with care.”
—Vivian Gadsden, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education at University of Pennsylvania and director of the National Center on Fathers and Families
“What I love most about this book is that it goes far beyond the issues of whether and why—straight into the heart of how. Although this volume is based on years of rigorous multinational research, it doesn’t read like a statement of what was or is as much as it reads like a testament to what can and should be, a road map for the leaders and peoples of any country or governmental jurisdiction interested in ensuring its own future by focusing on the futures of its youngest citizens. Sincere gratitude to Professor Kagan and her colleagues for mapping the early childhood social strategy path forward!”
—Walter Gilliam, professor of child psychiatry and psychology, Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, Yale University
"The strategies employed to strengthen the pillars of these high-performing systems have relevance far beyond the six countries that are The Early Advantage’s focus. I was struck by the value and relevance of the book’sinsights for low- and middle-income countries—countries that, although lacking the study countries’ material resources, are eager for innovative approaches that can be adapted to their contexts. The depth of research and practical lessons provided by this volume are a gift to our field.
—Marilou Hyson, senior early childhood consultant for the World Bank and UNICEF
“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.”
—Jacqueline Jones, president and CEO, Foundation for Child Development
“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!”
—Michael Levine, chief knowledge officer, Sesame Workshop
"As countries around the world move to scale early childhood services, the importance of a systems approach grows. The Early Advantage provides critical insight into the development of an early childhood system—from coordinated governance to support for the workforce, from family engagement to the use of data for decisionmaking."
—Joan Lombardi, director, Early Opportunities LLC
“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.”
—Andreas Schleicher, director for the Directorate of Education and Skills and special advisor on education policy to the secretary-general, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
"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."
—Valora Washington, CEO, Council for Professional Recognition, and founder, CAYL Institute
"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."
—Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education at Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University
“If you want to know what the countries with some of the most effective schooling and early childhood education systems in the world can teach us about building not just a plethora of exciting activities in this arena, but effective systems of provision that countries, states, and provinces can afford, at scale, then go no further. You are holding the book you are looking for in your hands.”
—From the Foreword by Marc Tucker, president, National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE)
Foreword by Marc Tucker
About the Sponsoring Organizations
Chapter 1. The Quest for Social Strategy
Sharon Lynn Kagan
Chapter 2. Strong Policy Foundations
Jeanne L. Reid, Sharon Lynn Kagan, Nirmala Rao, and Eva Landsberg
Chapter 3. Comprehensive Services, Funding, and Governance
Sharon Lynn Kagan, Eva Landsberg, Rebecca Bull, and Jessie Roth
Chapter 4. Knowledgeable and Supported Teachers and Families
Sharon Lynn Kagan, Samantha A. Melvin, Eva Landsberg, Kristiina Kumpulainen, and Jeanne L. Reid
Chapter 5. Informed, Individualized, and Continuous Pedagogy
Samantha A. Melvin, Eva Landsberg, and Sharon Lynn Kagan
Chapter 6. Data to Drive Improvement
Sharon Lynn Kagan, Kathy Sylva, Jeanne L. Reid, and Eva Landsberg
Chapter 7. Lessons and Speculations
Sharon Lynn Kagan
About the Contributors