The Formula for Quality Early Childhood Education that is Remarkable for Children

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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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The Formula

formula for quality early childhood education for children
  1. Not too many other babies and children – so children and adults get to know each other as individuals.
  2. Adults actively supervise children – so no child is forgotten, is hurt, or has an accident that is unseen.  
  3. There’s laughter, fun, cuddles and affection – supporting every child to feel included and valued.
  4. Children’s privacy and space is respected, such as when using the toilet, wanting to be left alone for rest or a quiet time, or to do an activity on their own.
  5. There’s frequent joint-interaction (talking) between adults and children, and also remembering of activities children and adults have done together and what was learnt.   
  6. Adults know and respond to children’s interests, personality differences and family values.
  7. Adults have expectations for children – can talk about what they would like to see a child learning or doing next, and how they are guiding progress towards achievement.
  8. There’s ample play space inside and outside.
  9. There’s a variety of play areas and materials, and also opportunities for children to learn about adult work e.g., cooking and gardening.
  10. There’s always something on offer or available for a child to engage in (so children are rarely or never bored, watching passively or aimlessly wandering around).
  11. It never gets so noisy that adults and children can’t hear what each other is saying to them.
  12. High attention is given to correct hand-washing by adults and children, and hygiene practices.

And add to this…

  • Adults who are well supported and who are also recognised for their knowledge and commitment (e.g., pay that reflects their training and skills and no workplace bullying).
  • Adults who are well trained and qualified in early childhood education (unless children’s parents are providing the care and education).
  • Adults who engage in ongoing learning and seek out information and resources to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching, methods of care and response to the needs of children and families. 

Produces…   An early childhood service that is of remarkable quality for children!

Children thrive in services that implement the formula for remarkable quality. This is the level of quality we need to expect of every childhood service. We need to go beyond the quality that’s necessary to satisfy licensing regulations and make sure services also provide quality that is remarkable for children.   

– Dr Sarah Alexander (OECE)

Related readings on quality

Six signs of a quality early childhood education experience for children and families

Structural indicators of quality and current regulations

A philosophical discussion on “what is quality?”

Early foundations: The Ministry of Education best evidence synthesis on quality teaching for diverse learners

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