The formula to produce quality early childhood education that is remarkable for children reflects over thirty years of research into factors important for effective teaching for diverse children and empirical indicators of quality ECE related to child outcomes.
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Wonderful, truly remarkable early childhood education (ECE) is produced when the following ingredients of quality are present and come together.
- The ECE service doesn’t feel over-crowded and everyone knows everyone’s name.
- You can hear laughter and see that being at the service is enjoyable for everyone.
- Diversity is embraced and the service has an inclusive culture (e.g., children with disabilities are included in all aspects of the programme, and male teachers are employed as part of the teaching team).
- Parents and family members can visit and participate anytime they wish.
- Opportunities are provided for families to be involved in the curriculum and events.
- Interest is shown in children’s home activities and learning, and family views on care are respected.
- Children’s individual needs are catered to.
- There is ample play space both inside and outdoors for the number and ages of children, with a good variety of play areas and materials (e.g., sandpit, puppets, musical instruments, cooking, and gardening).
- There is always something on offer for the children to do, so more choices and less down-time (not passive watching, aimless wandering, or screen time).
- Children’s personal privacy is respected, such as when using the toilet.
- High attention is given to keeping children safe, and to hand-washing and hygiene.
- The adults/ teaching staff:
- are trained and qualified in early childhood education;
- draw on research-based evidence and expert advice to reflect on what they do and enhance their teaching and support of children and families;
- have adequate sick and holiday leave, and are well paid (at least at the same level of pay as school teachers with equivalent qualifications and experience).
Implementing the formula for quality in early childhood education is not a luxury but a basic necessity given the importance of the early years in a child’s development and the amount of time that so many of our children spend in ECE from a very young age.Dr Sarah Alexander
Related readings on quality
Six signs of a quality early childhood education experience for children and families
A philosophical discussion on “what is quality?”
Early foundations: The Ministry of Education best evidence synthesis on quality teaching for diverse learners