A flexible preschool system for every child

Diversifying early learning in Europe and Central Asia

Children smile on their recess break after an early childhood education program in Gaziantep, Türkiye.


Through national, regional and global commitments, governments across Europe and Central Asia have committed to ensuring all children have access to quality, inclusive preschool to support their holistic development.

Diversification is a transformative strategy to advance early learning. It has great potential to rapidly expand access to quality preschool and meeting the needs of the most marginalized and vulnerable children and families.

Drawing on experiences within Europe and Central Asia, A flexible preschool system for every child: diversifying early learning in Europe and Central Asia and Case Studies:

  • explores how diversification of preschool is understood within the region and synthesize experiences into a working definition and set of guiding principles;
  • documents examples of how diversification is already supporting the realization of universal, quality, inclusive preschool and lessons learned from implementation;
  • reflects on the lessons learned so that governments can engage with diversification actively and systematically;
  • proposes recommendations for governments and partners to adopt a diversified approach and build system resilience.

The report presents key takeaways:

  1. Diversification of ECEC is the process of making systems more flexible so that a range of models can operate, to meet the diverse needs of families, without compromising on equity, inclusion, quality or sustainability of service provision.
  2. Diversification is not a new process: it is an approach which has emerged organically and is already under implementation across Europe and Central Asia, and likely beyond, as countries adopt preschool models that go beyond a classic full-day model.
  3. Diversification can strengthen systems by increasing system capacity to respond to new and emerging challenges by increasing inclusive access to quality services, supporting financially sustainable preschool provision, and meeting the evolving needs of parents in a context of social, political, economic, and technological change.
  4. Diversification is not linear: Experiences across Europe and Central Asia demonstrate that there is no one way to diversify and multiple entry points exist for governments to begin or progress their diversification journey.
  5. Diversification should meet the needs of all children, including children with disabilities, and impacted by other factors of marginalization or vulnerability.
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