I have not yet received a response to any of my contacts so I visited UNESCO’s “Early Childhood Care and Education” webpage (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/strengthening-education-systems/early-childhood/). I explored the site thoroughly and the following are the new ideas and insights I have gained about issues related to international early childhood education and my professional goals.
I learned a few things about access and equity, one of which is that the central governments must ensure an equitable distribution of resources among different populations, especially those who live in the most disadvantaged regions. This approach expands access without creating serious regional inequities. However, the policy of universal provision for particular age groups can create inequity.
There are no universally agreed criteria for quantifying Early childhood care and education programme (ECCE) quality but useful factors to consider include pedagogy materials, personnel training, service setting and parental education and involvement. The ECCE workforce is often made up of a diverse group of pre-school teachers, care workers, informal carers and other professionals. Adequate training and work conditions are essential so they can integrate the content and practice of early childhood care and education and address the transition to formal schooling. I believe that this is one of the main problems with the field of Early childhood and the programs with-in it. The differences in quality between programs it partially due to the lack of consistent standards and criteria for scoring programs and professionals for quality.
Where government resources are limited, the last year of pre-primary education is frequently placed in a formal school setting or there may be efforts to lower the entry age. Such trends dilute the importance of holistic development by placing too much emphasis on preparing children for formal schooling. This happens throughout the school years as well because more emphasis is placed on formal schooling and “teaching to the test” than to much of the play and emotional development.
The greatest difficulty faced by countries in their efforts to expand and improve the quality of early childhood care and education is the mobilisation of resources. This is particularly daunting in developing countries, where early childhood may be overshadowed by other pressing priorities, such as universal primary education.