In Germany as well as in other countries access conditions to ECEC highly varies. However, until now research concentrated only little on regional differences in access. At the same time an equal start is especially important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

International and national experts in the field of ECEC discussed approaches and challenges in the local organisation of access to ECEC ser­vices at the conference of the International Centre Early Childhood Education and Care (ICEC) from 22nd to 23rd in Berlin.

Researchers of the ICEC presented preliminary results of the Equal Access Study  (2017-2020). The study investigates structural access barriers to ECEC in Canada, Germany and Sweden. The researchers analysed local approaches to reduce barriers and addressed the question, to what extent institutional conditions and steering processes can explain (un)equal access conditions.

In exchange with national and international experts from politics, research and practice the following questions were discussed in plenary sessions and thematic work­shops:

Which structural access barriers in systems of Early Childhood Education and Care can we observe? How do these barriers relate to the background and resour­ces of children and families?

Which local governance strategies are in place in order to reduce access barriers? How can and must we take into account characteristics of the local environment?

Which approaches are being developed in countries with different ECEC traditions for coping with gro­wing heterogeneity of societies? What can we learn from international comparison?