Building Professional Capital for High-Quality Early Childhood Education and Care

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The chapter introduces professional capital as a theoretical framework of understanding and reference for the ongoing work with quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC). The aim is to contribute to understanding what constitutes quality work in ECEC and how to improve it. Professional capital has three interrelated components: human, social, and decisional capital. It is based on the assumption that improvement work in educational practices demands collective and system-wide coherence and a professional learning culture in which collaboration, reflection, and improvements in the learning environment are qualified using data- and research-based knowledge and personal judgment. Combining these elements contributes to organizational and professional learning, which is also dependent on leadership. In the chapter, the theory of professional capital is linked to selected results from a Danish research and development project involving six municipalities (In Denmark, a municipality is a local government that is responsible for running the local social services. ECEC is one of these services), 165 ECEC centers, and about 3000 ECEC professionals (ECEC professionals are staff members and leaders in ECEC centers, and system leaders and consultants at the municipal level). The idea is that seeing the selected data through the lens of professional capital could serve as an example of the work with quality improvement in ECEC and the importance of establishing the necessary prerequisites for this.

Translated title of the contributionUdvikling af Professionel kapital som afsæt for arbejdet med kvalitet i dagtilbud
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuality in Early Childhood Education and Care through Leadership and Organizational Learning
Number of pages24
Publication dateOct 2023
Commissioning bodySpringer Nature
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-39418-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-39419-5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
SeriesInternational Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development


  • Professional capital
  • Improvement work
  • Quality work
  • Organizational learning
  • Leadership
  • Social capital
  • ECEC


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