Early Childhood Education in Brazil: Child Rights to ECE in Context of Great Disparities

One of the world’s largest countries, Brazil’s national policies on early childhood are some of the most progressive and comprehensive in the world. Notable themes in Brazil’s early childhood system include the national protection of children’s rights, the integration of children’s development, starting at birth, into the national education system, and universal preschool education. These rights are juxtaposed against a highly devolved political structure in the context of significant socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and geographic disparities. As a result, there is variability in access to quality early childhood settings. This case study explores access to quality early childhood education (ECE) for children aged four to six years. We describe the economic and policy contexts of ECE in Brazil, with emphasis on the role of ECE in addressing regional, racial/ethnic, and economic disparities.