People in early years teaching jobs have been asked to contribute evidence to an independent review, which will look at ways to improve the training, qualifications and career prospects for those working in the sector.
Leading the review will be early childhood education expert Professor Cathy Nutbrown.
She has called on early years teachers and carers, as well as employers, trainees and parents, to submit their ideas about what is important in terms of training and qualifications.
According to Department for Education (DfE) figures, the number of people working in childcare has increased by 25 per cent in the last five years.
The Minister of State for Children, Sarah Teather MP, said: "We want to make sure young children are starting school ready and able to learn.
"So we need to look at the training and qualifications of those working in the early years."
Through the review, Sheffield University's Professor Nutbrown will examine the qualities required to ensure young children gain the highest standard of pre-school education.
This will see her focus on ways to improve the confidence, knowledge and skills of all people involved in working with families during the early years of children's development.
Ms Teather added that high standards of early years education are essential to give children the right start in life.
The review forms part of a raft of measures which have been introduced with the aim of improving early years education and childcare with a particular emphasis on young children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Research highlighted by the DfE shows a clear link between a skilled early years workforce and the healthy development of children.
Professor Nutbrown commented: "It’s vital that we have a professional, diverse and confident workforce who feel equipped to do their job well."
She added that she will seek to improve the "rigour and quality" of training and qualifications to create a clear career path for early years workers.
The DfE recently announced that funding was going to be provided to give all children from disadvantaged backgrounds a free place in early years education.
Posted by Harriet McGowan