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The Production of ‘Worthwhile’ Knowledge about Quality in Early Years Education

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Knowledge about Quality in ECE.

There has been substantial study of the quality of early years education yet only recently have researchers started to ask questions and take approaches that have some relevance and meaning for practice in early childhood programmes.

This paper reviews the ways in which research has shaped our perception of quality in early childhood education and associated limitations. The dominant approach to quality is then explained and some additional comparatively new approaches are identified. 

At present there is confusion as to what “quality” means due to the emergence of the stakeholder approach in the early 1990s and a more recent postmodernist interpretation (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 1999). To overcome this, and to increase specificity and relevance, it is suggested that we should look to the different dimensions of the word “quality” instead of regarding quality as a global, one-word-fits-all construct.

There are (at least) three different, distinct dimensions of quality in the early childhood field, namely:  “standards”, “organisational culture/excellence”, and “client benefits”.

The paper provided below on Knowledge about Quality, includes a useful diagram that shows different paths for quality promotion and assurance – and the consequences of each path.

You may like also like to read “Constructions of Quality in Early Childhood Centres

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