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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all

Early childhood education and care in Europe: Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

This webinar will explore how challenges to early childhood education and care provision, which have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be tackled.
5 October 2021

Young children, families, ECEC services and staff

When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, most European countries closed schools and many ECEC services. 

For the last 18 months, children, families, early childhood education and care professionals, services and decision-makers have faced many challenges and questions, for example

  • What would be the impact of lockdowns and pandemic restrictions on young children? 
  • Would there be any learning loss? 
  • Should ECEC staff be prioritised for testing and vaccination? 
  • How would the sector cope financially with the loss of earnings and increased expenses? 

This webinar will present the results of reports prepared by the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and NESET – the Network of Experts working on the Social dimension of Education and Training, which explore how these challenges and others have been tackled. 

Representatives of the Slovenian Ministry of education, of Eurochild and EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Union will share their experiences and discuss the findings of the reports.


Early childhood education and care is the essential first step on the lifelong learning ladder. The European Union (EU) and the governments of all EU Member States are committed to ensuring easier access to ECEC services and to improve their quality. 

In 2019, Member States adopted the Council Recommendation for high-quality early childhood education and care systems and a European Quality Framework. 

In 2021, as part of the European Education Area initiative, they committed to ensuring that 96% of children between 3 years old and the age of compulsory primary schooling receive early childhood education and care.



  • Anna-Maria Giannopoulou - Deputy Head of Unit, Schools and multilingualism, Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC), European Commission

ECEC and the COVID-19 pandemic: Understanding and managing the impact of the crisis on the sector

  • Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot - Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+, DG EAC, European Commission

Governing quality ECEC in a global crisis: First lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic

A focus on the report ‘Governing quality early childhood education and care in a global crisis: First lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic’ (NESET, 2021)

  • Arianna Lazzari - NESET

Discussion panel

  • Brigita Mark – Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Slovenia 
  • Agata D’Addato - Eurochild 
  • Viktória Szűcs - EPSU (European Federation of Public Services Union)

The use of digital technologies for the education of young children during the COVID-19 pandemic *

A focus on the OECD report for the G20 2020 Education Working group (to be released on 5 October 2021)

  • Andreas Schleicher - Director for Education and skills, OECD



* Questions and answers

Questions can be asked in advance by writing to by email or during the event on the Erasmus+ Facebook page


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Towards a European Education Area

Early childhood education and care policy has a key role to play in the Commission’s vision to achieve a European Education Area by 2025, as outlined in the 2020 Commission Communication

Making early childhood education and care more inclusive and supporting professionals who work in the sector are important endeavors as part of this strategy. 

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