Summary In this paper I examine the Nordic model, i.e. a child-centred and holistic approach, in order to discuss Early Childhood Education (ECE) as a key policy instrument for fighting social inequality. Since 1999 it has been an important goal for the Danish government to ensure equal opportunities for all by starting with early intervention. This is particularly especially relevant in Denmark, where >95% of all children attend in day-care. International research shows that early interventions can make a positive difference, and as shown in American Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) studies, the effects are lasting. On the other hand, international research does not address the two different main approaches to the ECE systems (holistic/academic) nor to the questions of how pedagogic initiatives and framework conditions work as prerequisites for success (best practice). An analysis of research into the situation in the Nordic countries shows growing awareness of how to identify target groups for ECE-intervention as well as an increased focus on pre-school school teachers' education and the need for new assessment and evaluation methods for determining best practice. Since it would appear that the ECE system fails to provide equal social and intellectual opportunities to all children, further development in this area is required. Based on an analysis of the Nordic situation, a recent Danish intervention involving some 60 centres and 2.700 pre-school children and some preliminary results are presented and discussed.
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 2009, Vol 17, Issue 1, p. 7-21
lovgiving om læreplaner; social arv; intervention; effect; early childhood education; social inequality