CoRe Study on Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care.

The CoRe project is a 14 months research project on ‘competences requirements of staff in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)’ in Europe and is financed by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture. The University of East London leads the project in a consortium with the University of Ghent, Department for Social Welfare Studies, with VBJK as a project  partner.


This project started in November 2009 and will be completed in April 2012




Early childhood education and care has been, since 1992 Council Recommendations on child care, a recurring topic on European policy agendas. In recent years the importance of high quality services for young children and their families has been further emphasized. Socio-economic, educational and civil rights based rationales for investing in high quality services for young children and their families have been laid out in European and international policy documents. Throughout the EU, there is a consensus on the need for more and higher quality services, increasing integration of ‘childcare’ and ‘early education’, and enhanced training and status for the workforce whose members are known as essential to quality provision. But this consensus does not extend to how to achieve these goals: national strategies and approaches vary and the European Commission had identified a lack of common understanding of the competences of practitioners working with young children and their relationship to the outcomes for children in high quality early childhood services.

Therefore, the topic of this research is a comprehensive study of the competences required by staff working in ECEC. This study is an international research on quality, competences and professionalism in early childhood. At European level, a wide range of member states and candidate countries are included in the survey and detailed case studies are conducted. The project aims to provide a definition of core competences and to develop recommendations for action at professional and national and European policy level.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. To produce a summary of current evidence about the competences required by ECEC staff, based on a systematic, comprehensive and critical literature review.
  2. To provide a comprehensive summary of the competences that countries require their ECEC staff to possess, based on definitions in relevant national legislations and polity documents.
  3. To provide a description of competences taught in a geographically balanced sample of training programs that lead to qualifications required in order to be able to work in ECEC services, including countries that have no legislation on competences requirements.
  4. To conduct seven case studies of ECEC policy and provision in a geographically balanced sample, emphasizing high quality programs and analyzing staff competences contributing to the quality of provision.
  5. To propose a definition of the core competences that all ECEC staff require in order to contribute to a high quality ECEC service.
  6. To develop recommendations for actions that should be taken at national and European level.


For this project, the core research team at London and Ghent is supported by an international Expert Advisory Team and is closely collaborating with following key European and International professional networks:



Download the CoRe Final Report (63 p.) and the CoRe Research Documents (175 p.) bellow. 

Contact: Katrien Van Laere

Research team:
University of Ghent, department for Social Welfare Studies

  • Prof. Dr. Michel Vandenbroeck
  • Dr. Jan Peeters
  • Katrien Van Laere

University of East London, Cass School of Education

  • Prof. Dr. Mathias Urban
  • Arianna Lazzari



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CoRe - Final Report (63 p.).pdf1.35 MB
CoRe - Research Documents (175 p.).pdf2.76 MB