94417 - ECEC Policies and Pedagogical Approaches in International Perspective

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Arianna Lazzari

  • Credits 4

  • SSD M-PED/03

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Educator in Childhood Social Services (cod. 9083)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student: - knows the policy guidelines concerning early childhood education and care (ECEC) developed by European Commission over the last twenty years; - starting from their different backgrounds, the students are able to analyse the main features of the policy landscapes within which ECEC services evolved in each country and to identifying similarities and differences among them; - is able to critically reflect on issues and problems related to early childhood education and care in the current pedagogical debate and on their implications for professional practice.

Course contents

Taught contents are referred to the following topics:

  • pedagogical concepts related to the education and care of young children in Europe
  • the contemporary policy landscape: from the Barcelona targets to the European Quality Framework on ECEC
  • points of attention in international comparison: accessibility of ECEC services in contexts of diversity, professionalisation of the early years workforce, curriculum and pedagogical planning
  • the integrated system of ECEC in Emilia-Romagna as case study.

Preliminary requirements

The course will be entirely taught in English. Students taking the course, should have an intermediate level in Human sciences and Humanities and a B1 English level.


Thematic Working Group on ECEC (2014) Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. Brussels: European Commission.

Mantovani S. (2007) ‘Early childhood education in Italy’. In New R. S. & Cochran M. (Eds.) Early childhood education: An international encyclopedia - vol. 4, Westport (CT): Praeger Publishers, pp. 1110–1122.

Lazzari, A. & Balduzzi, L. (2020) ‘Early childhood education and care in times of transition: the role of policy reforms and advocacy processes in improving the accessibility of services for young children and their families’ In K. Repo, M. Alasuutari, K. Karila, J. Lammi-Taskula (Eds.) The Policies of Childcare and Early Childhood Education, London/New York: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 108 – 132.


Picchio, M., Giovannini, D., Mayer, S., & Musatti, T. (2012). Documentation and analysis of children’s experience: an ongoing collegial activity for early childhood professionals. Early Years, 32(2), 159-170.

Lazzari, A., Picchio, M., & Musatti, T. (2013). Sustaining ECEC quality through continuing professional development: systemic approaches to practitioners’ professionalisation in the Italian context, Early Years, 33(2), 133-145.

Vandenbroeck, M., & Lazzari, A. (2014). Accessibility of early childhood education and care: A state of affairs. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 22(3), 327-335.

Peeters, J., & Sharmahd, N. (2014). Professional development for ECEC practitioners with responsibilities for children at risk: which competences and in-service training are needed? European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 22(3), 412-424.

Teaching methods

Interactive lessons and group work.

Assessment methods

Writing an essay in relation to the objectives of the course and oral test focused on the discussion of the essay. Students who are not attending lectures are required to contact the lecturer well in advance to agree on the essay's content and structure. The exam, carried out in English language, will be integrated with the other section of the course (94416 - Comparative History of ECEC Institutions, prof. Dorena Caroli).

This course unit is marked out of 30 (18 is considered the minimum to pass the exam), comprehensive of the two modules of the course.

All students should register to the exam on the platform Almaesami (at least a week before each exam date). If students fail the exam, they can register for the following round (appello d’esame).

Teaching tools

Use of slides, discussion of videos/documentaries and reading materials that will be partially available on the IOL platform. Students are invited to register to the course’s webpage on IOL platform by using their personal username and password.

Office hours

See the website of Arianna Lazzari