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Global Guidelines

Global Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21st Century

ACEI is committed to providing resources that enhance childhood education programs throughout the world. The Global Guidelines for Education and Care in the 21st Century (Global Guidelines) present recommendations for ensuring that young children receive an appropriate, quality education in a variety of settings.

The Global Guidelines were developed by a group of more than 80 international early care and education experts from 27 countries to address the fundamental elements necessary to create quality early care and education environments for young children around the world. The Global Guidelines Assessment tool was developed to assess Global Guidelines implementation. The Global Guidelines Assessment is intended to be used by early care and education programs as they review program quality. Since communities vary worldwide, programs should adapt the Guidelines for their own use to align with the cultural, and other contextual, differences of their community.

Key Philosophies

The premises of the Global Guidelines are key philosophies that provide its foundation.

  1. Children are both the present and the future of every nation, they have needs, rights, and intrinsic worth that must be recognized and supported.
  2. Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a setting that values children, that provides conditions for a safe and secure environment, and that respects diversity.
  3. Knowledge about human development is more substantial now than at any time in history. The new century offers opportunities to consolidate recent gains and respond to new challenges that lie ahead.
  4. Children must receive appropriate nurture and education within and outside their families from birth onward if they are to develop optimally.
  5. Attention to the health, nutrition, education, and psychosocial development of children during their early years is essential for the future well being of nations and the global community.

The ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA) was developed as a way to assess the implementation of ACEI's Global Guidelines. The assessment serves as a resource for those teaching young children or administering early care and education programs and we invite all educators and childcare providers around the globe to use the GGA. We are pleased that the GGA has been used in over 35 nations.

ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA)

The ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA) is an evidence-based instrument designed to help early childhood professionals systematically examine and improve the quality of their program services worldwide, particularly in developing countries (Barbour et. al., 2004; Sandell, Hardin, & Wortham, 2010; Hardin, Bergen, & Hung, 2013). It is based on the Global Guidelines (described above).

The Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA) is a valuable resource for early care and education programs. The assessment was developed with the input of educators from more than 27 nations. The assessment consists of five program content areas: Environment and Physical Space, Curriculum Content and Pedagogy, Early Childhood Educators and Caregivers, Partnerships with Families and Communities, and Young Children with Special Needs.

The 2011 edition of the GGA includes 76 indicators of program quality that have global relevance; however, please keep in mind that specific markers of how a quality indicator is met may vary from nation to nation. Although the GGA includes a general rating scale (excellent to inadequate), educators will need to determine their own methods of measuring the attainment of indicators by describing specific examples for each indicator in relation to their own nation's policies and community practices and settings. ACEI encourages educators to use the GGA either to design new early childhood programs or improve existing programs.

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the GGA is now available. If you are interested in translating the GGA into another language, please follow these guidelines using the consensus methods (pdfConsensus Process).

pdfClick here to download the pdf in English

pdfClick here to download the pdf in French

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Spanish

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Greek

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Chinese (simplified)

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Chinese (traditional)

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Russian.pdf

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Turkish.pdf

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Nepali

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Slovak

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Arabic

pdfClick here to download the pdf in Swahili

Translations in Korean and Italian will be available soon.

ACEI GGA Research Study

Developing a program assessment tool with global applicability requires a balance between sensitivity to cultural differences and meaningful constructs that are reliable and valid across cultures. A systematic and scientific investigation of the reliability and validity of the GGA is currently being conducted with a worldwide representative sample of early childhood care and education programs. This research is a collaborative initiative with representatives in each participating country as indicated below.

World Region Countries/No. of Sites
Africa & Middle East **Sierra Leone (1), Kenya (1), South Africa (1), Jordan (1), Saudi Arabia (1) 5
Asia *People's Republic of China (2), *Taiwan (1), *India (1), **Thailand (1) 5
Europe **Italy (2), Spain (1), Great Britain (1) 4
North America *United States (1), Canada (1), *Mexico (1) 3
Central & South America *Peru (2), *Guatemala (1), *Chile (1) 4
Total 18 21

*Data collection completed
**Data collection in process

For additional information about the GGA or if you are interested in becoming a research site, please contact Dr. Belinda Hardin by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Barbour, A., Boyer, W., Hardin, B., & Wortham, S. (2004). From principle to practice: Using the global guidelines to assess quality education and care. Childhood Education, 80, 327-331.

Hardin, B. J., Bergen, D., & Hung, H-F. (2013). Investigating the psychometric properties of the ACEI global guidelines assessment (GGA) in four countries. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41(2), 91-101.

Sandell, E.J., Hardin, B.J., & Wortham, S.C. (2010). Using ACEI's global guidelines assessment for improving early education. Childhood Education, 86, 157-160.