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Slovenia among best countries in early childhood development

New York, 21 September - Slovenia is among the top performers in the world when it comes to policies promoting early childhood development and would be the top country if it had two years of free preschool, shows a report compiled by UNICEF, the United Nations' agency for children.

Ljubljana
Children watching a presentation at Znanstival, a science festival.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

The report, entitled Early Moments Matter, highlights three key measures influencing early childhood development: paid leave for breastfeeding in the first six months coupled with six months of paid parental leave, four weeks of paid paternal leave, and two years of free preschool.

Only 15 countries in the world, most of them in Europe, have put in place all three policies. Slovenia is not among them since it does not offer free preschool.

Nevertheless, Slovenia scores high on many other measures, which includes over 90% of children being enrolled in preschool, and would top the rankings if it introduced two years of free preschool, UNICEF Slovenija said.

While the report as such does not make a mention of Slovenia, UNICEF Slovenija says the authors have nevertheless made several country-specific recommendations.

Foremost among them is an increase in the share of children 4-6 enrolled in preschool and free preschool for all children in a bid to reduce the wealth gap and tackle poverty.

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© STA, 2017