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Early childhood education and pre-primary education

June 2, 2021

In reference to the “pre-primary” level, the BELDS global toolkit applies the UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) definition (ISCED Level 0), whereby, “[p]re-primary education refers to organized programmes that are intentionally designed to include educational content for children usually aged 3 years up to the start of primary education, often around age 6”.

Pre-primary education programmes typically employ a holistic approach to introducing young children to organized instruction outside the family context, aiming to support children’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. They also help children develop many of the skills they need for academic readiness and entry into primary education.

In this BELDS global toolkit, “pre-primary education” and “early childhood education” are used interchangeably for readability to mean organized learning programmes for children aged 3 years and up to the start of primary education. Similarly, “pre-primary subsector” and “ECE subsector” are used interchangeably.