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Tool 3.1: Guiding Questions and Tips

Refining, Selecting and Prioritizing ECE Strategies and Developing Corresponding Activities

Click on the below buttons to navigate to guiding questions, tips, and examples for refining, selecting, and prioritizing ECE strategies and developing corresponding activities.

Guiding Questions for Refining ECE Strategies

For each of the ECE strategies that you are developing, reflect on and answer the guiding questions below to refine the strategy to ensure that it is robust.

That is, can the strategy be measured by a tangible change (for example a product that will be developed, the number of people to benefit, a change in budget allocation for ECE, etc.)? For example, the strategy “advocate for increased budget to support curriculum implementation” can be measured through identifying the increase of the budget allocation to the ECE subsector.

This refers back to the logical framework approach to clarify the causal links between the underlying challenge and the proposed action. It is recommended to refer back to the Build to Last conceptual framework (in Section 1) and the Pre-primary Subsector Analysis Tool (in Section 2) as a starting point – for uncovering the underlying ECE challenges in a holistic manner (looking at the core functions of the subsector and the enabling environment). This will help ensure that the ECE strategies respond comprehensively to key issues around access to ECE, equity (including issues of gender and inclusion) and quality of ECE.

That is, if two strategies appear to address the same underlying challenge, it may be possible to combine the two. For example, perhaps a strategy to support curriculum implementation (ex. provide in-service training to teachers on curriculum implementation) may be combined with a strategy to support workforce development (ex. strengthen pre- and in-service training programmes).

Is it forward looking and does it provide sufficient detail for achieving policy priorities/goals? For example, the strategy “train teachers” is too broad and lacks the specificity for the desired outcome. Instead, the strategy “strengthen in-service training programmes with a focus on play-based pedagogy” is clear, forward-looking and provides direction on what aspect of teacher training should be improved.

For example, if there are ongoing efforts to develop and pilot-test improved teacher training materials, the strategy in response to an underperforming ECE workforce may be to build on and scale up this existing initiative. Furthermore, consider linking ECE strategies with efforts in health, nutrition and economic development to yield increased outcomes for children.

For example, the strategy “ensure training and certification of all kindergarten teachers of the country” covers the target population (i.e., all kindergarten teachers) and the geographical areas (i.e., across the country, irrespective of where they are located). Another example is “provide different modalities for age-appropriate, over-age and out of school pre-school learners in rural and other disadvantaged areas”, which reaches and differentiates the targeted populations (i.e., over-age and out of school pre-school learners) and covers the geographical locations based on equity (i.e., rural and disadvantaged areas).


Strategies to address underlying ECE challenges and achieve policy priorities/goals


Low rates of school readiness

Root Causes:

  1. 70% of teachers are untrained
  2. 20% of teachers are poorly trained
  3. Teaching learning materials are not aligned with the curriculum
  4. Not enough training programs and limited capacity of existing trainers

Policy Goal:

Increased rates of school readiness

Proposed Strategies:

  1. Provide targeted training to untrained ECE teachers, focusing on practical skills
  2. Review and strengthen existing pre- and in-service teacher training programs in collaboration with relevant training institutions
  3. Provide developmentally appropriate teaching and learning materials that align with and support the implementation of the curriculum
  4. Increase the number of teacher training programs (in higher education or technical schools) and strengthen capacity of existing training institutions



Various ECE curricula being implemented by diverse service providers across the country

Root Causes:

  1. Existing ECE curriculum is not mandatory and does not follow a curriculum framework
  2. Teachers have limited knowledge of lesson plan development to implement the curriculum
  3. Lack of teacher resource guide for curriculum implementation

Policy Goal:

Provide equitable and relevant quality ECE that provides knowledge, skills and values to meet the different needs of young learners

Proposed Strategies:

  1. Develop a comprehensive ECE curriculum framework (with vision, goals, standards, principles, etc.)
  2. Issue policy directives (or other relevant regulatory documents) to mandate a national curriculum framework
  3. Strengthen capacity of teachers to implement the ECE curriculum, including providing teachers with the necessary teaching and learning materials (such as teacher guides, etc.)
  4. Ensure regular monitoring of the compliance of implementation of the curriculum across service providers

Tips, Guiding Questions and Template for Selecting and Prioritizing ECE Strategies

Once you have reviewed and refined the ECE strategies, it is important to select and prioritize those that will be included in the ESP because it is unlikely that the ESP can address all of the problems.

Consider the tips and guiding questions in this section to support the selection and prioritization of ECE strategies to include in the ESP. A template is also available to help you document your reflections on the guiding questions and tips.

Start with reviewing Section 2.3 of MOOC Module 4 (on selecting policy priorities) for guidance and considerations for situating the ECE strategies within the context of the broader education sector’s vision and challenges. This first step helps an initial prioritization, navigating trade-offs and aligning ECE strategies with broader education sector priorities. After this first step, you may refer to the guiding questions below for further reflection on and prioritization of ECE strategies.

Bear in mind that the prioritization process should take into consideration the logic of scope, impact and capacity/availability of resources.

  • Ideally, you would prioritize a strategy that produces high impact, with broad reach and scope.
  • Think about what can be realistically achieved with the available/projected capacity and resources for maximum reach and impact. For example, does the strategy maximize the available resources to attain high impact towards the aspired target/vision?
  • Sometimes, even if a strategy requires a high level of effort/capacity and resources that may not be currently available, the strategy should still be considered a priority if it critically important and has a high impact. For example, a strategy to “revision the pre-primary curriculum to ensure that it is developmentally appropriate, play-based and child-centered” will likely require high levels of capacity and resources; despite limited capacity/resources, it should be prioritized as it has an impact on the quality and effectiveness of ECE.
  • Additional needs in capacity and resources to implement strategies may be further assessed to determine whether it should be addressed in the Education Sector Plan and Operational Plan (i.e., included as a distinct strategy around capacity building or resource mobilization, with the associated activities).
  • Two examples of “high priority” strategies are provided in the template, with details on the analysis of the scope, impact and capacity/availability of resources factors and rationale.

In the event there are multiple strategies of equal importance, consider capacity availability (i.e. human and financial resources needed and available) and the urgency of the strategy.

Examine your strategies within and across the core functions of the ECE subsector (or other types of categorization that you choose to follow) as this may reveal strategies that have a broader reach/scope which may be further prioritized.

Determine if the strategy should be: (a) prioritized; (b) dropped; (c) given a lower priority level (for example, to be documented in a “parking lot” of strategies to be implemented only if funding is still available after higher priority level strategies are implemented).

For each of the ECE strategies that you are developing, reflect on and answer the guiding questions below to determine whether to select and prioritize the strategy to include in the ESP.

  • 1
    Current Scope of the Strategy and Achieving the ESP Policy Priorities and Goals
  • 2
    Impact of the Strategy
  • 3
    Capacity Availability
  • 4
Scope of the Strategy and Achieving the ESP Policy Priorities and Goals
1.4 Does the strategy and/or combination of strategies lead to achieving the policy goals/priorities in the ESP?

This template will help you document and articulate your reflections around the tips and guiding questions for selecting and prioritizing ECE strategies to be included in the Education Sector Plan. This template is a way for you and the ECE Technical Working Group to systematically consider each of the ECE strategies so that you may select and prioritize the most promising, realistic ones.

The first line of the table provides an example of the type of analysis and reflections that can be included in this template, to further guide your decision on the prioritization of ECE strategies.  Note that the columns “capacity/resources available to achieve strategy” and “capacity/resources needed to achieve strategy” will be helpful for your reflections on the ECE subsector’s and the broader education system’s capacity to implement the strategies and activities of the Education Sector Plan (please refer to Tool 4.2 Checklist: ECE Implementation Feasibility and Capacity Appraisal for the ESP).

Core Function Area


Underlying Challenge(s) that the Strategy Addresses

Relative Importance of the Strategy (anticipated impact, scope, connection with other strategy or existing work, urgency)

Capacity/Resources Available to Achieve Strategy

Capacity/Resources Needed to Achieve Strategy

Notes on whether to prioritize, drop or give low priority

Guiding Questions for Developing Activities

Once the ECE strategies are agreed to, you will need to identify activities to operationalize the ECE strategies.

Activities are specific actions or individual tasks that are sequential and related towards achieving a strategy. They are time-bound and measurable. The activities will be detailed in the operational plan (with information on timing, roles, responsibilities, and costs).

In this tool, we provide guiding questions for you to consider when you are developing activities that will support the implementation of a strategy. Note that developing activities and consolidating them in the operational plan is an iterative process, which enables prioritization among activities and involves trade-offs. For example, if financing gaps are identified when costing the ESP (see the Tool 3.3 Tips, Checklist, and Examples: ECE Simulation Models), it will be necessary to decide whether to revise, postpone or cancel lower-priority activities.

  1. What are the specific activities needed to achieve the strategy? Why and how?
  2. Are the activities clear and specific enough? (e.g., an activity worded as “research potential local partners” is vague; “research potential local partners and shortlist 3-5 organizations” is more specific)
  3. Are there activities that build on existing work and initiatives (within the sector and subsector, as well as linking with efforts/initiatives in other sectors, such as health, nutrition, social protection, etc.)?
  4. Are there proven “solutions” that are feasible and practical (e.g., who can you benchmark with and learn from)?
  5. To what extent are the activities feasible?
  1. What is the anticipated duration of each activity?
  2. Which activities need to be completed before others can start?
  3. Which activities may be achieved after other activities are completed?
  4. Which activities are the most important or key to meeting the strategy?

This is an example of possible activities to implement ECE strategies and achieving the policy objective.

(i) Identify the demographic of children with disabilities: Are young children screened for disabilities? If yes, by whom, where is the information consolidated/reported, and who has access to this information (i.e. number of children, where they are located)? Are children with disabilities accessing pre-primary education? Why or why not? What are the barriers? Which strategic partners are needed to implement the strategies?

(ii) Based on results of the above analysis, establish baseline data and design an inclusive education pilot programme for kindergarten (identify pilot areas)

(iii) Train teachers (in pilot areas) on screening young children with disabilities

(iv) Train teachers (in pilot areas) on communicating with families and caregivers to minimize access barriers (particularly access barriers related with attitudes and beliefs) in order for children with disabilities in to regularly access pre-primary education; pedagogical practices for supporting with pre-primary aged children with disabilities through specialized pedagogical techniques and the creation of individual education plans, creation and use of teaching and learning materials’ for supporting children with disabilities, and training on how to support children and their families use assistive devices in the classroom and home in partnership with health professionals’ guidance and support, etc.

(v) Develop and supply diagnostic tools, teaching and learning materials to support children with disabilities, and assistive devices to kindergartens in pilot areas based on needs

(vi) Support exchange visits between preschools and primary schools to support young children with disabilities’ transition to primary school

(vii) Evaluate the inclusive education pilot for young children initiative

(viii) Based on the results of the evaluation, revise/harmonize of policy and regulatory documents (including directives, standards, etc.)

(ix) Scale up inclusive education for young children (expand activities to other areas)

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3.1 Guiding questions and tips strategies and activities (word)
3.1 Guiding questions and tips strategies and activities (PDF)
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