Six Signs of Quality Early Childhood Education

Search Entire Website
teacher in lovely interaction with small group of children. Six signs of quality early childhood education

Six Signs of Quality Early Childhood Education.

What is quality?

Actual quality is about what a parent and child experiences and how they see their experience.

As Dr Sarah Alexander, an international expert on Quality in ECE has argued, quality is “in the eye of the beholder”.

Dr Alexander has provided the “Six Signs of Quality Early Childhood Education” for parents to refer to. Together these signs of quality show if an early childhood service is quality or not quality, for the child and their family.

Additionally, the Ministry of Education sets measurable standards that all services must meet by law and in return for receiving public funding. The regulations can cover structural indicators of quality, such as low child:adult ratios, early childhood qualified teachers, and small group size. Regulations are set to provide for the minimum acceptable level of quality from the government’s perspective as a main funder of early childhood education, rather than the optimal level for children.

The Six Signs of Quality Early Childhood Education

The child is happy

The child is happy to be at the centre or service. The child shows lots of smiles and laughter, receives and gives hugs, and builds friendships with others at the service. They are always keen in the morning to get ready to go to the service.

The child’s health and safety is ensured

A high level of supervision of children is provided at the service. There is strong knowledge among the adults as to what to expect developmentally of children in their abilities and reactions. Hygiene practices are great and the chance of children getting sick from a contagious disease is therefore low. Potential safety risks for children in the play environment are carefully managed.

The child’s learning is supported and enriched 

The child is exposed to learning and experiences beyond what the child already knows and experiences at home and in other settings.

The environment is stimulating and suits the child

There are lots of things to interest the child and keep the child busy and occupied. What is provided at the service for the child to do, gives the child a sense of being able to push oneself towards doing things at a higher level of difficulty and to try new things.

Family values, beliefs and language are truly supported

There is consistency between what the parents and family value and their aspirations for their child and the views, expectations and practices of the people caring for the child in the early childhood programme.

Parents’ needs for support with childcare and early childhood education are fully met 

You can tell this is achieved when parents don’t feel grumpy about anything at the programme –  instead parents feel delighted that they have enrolled with the service and feel like shouting from the roof-tops about how great it is for them and their child.

These six signs of quality early childhood education are inter-related, for example if a child is not happy then the child will gain less from attending the educational programme.

It is essential for an early childhood service to fully meet expectations for children’s happiness and safety and health. If a service has some deficiencies in the other areas (i.e. provisions for children’s learning, environmental stimulation, supporting family culture and language, and parents’ needs) and if these deficiencies are considered minor and can be made-up for at home or elsewhere then the service may still be acceptable for the child and family.

The not-so-secret formula for quality ECE for children

The formula for quality early childhood education is now available as a single poster you can download and print.

The formula 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.

Checklist for parents when choosing care

A checklist that provides more detailed items for parents to check when choosing an early childhood service is available from the My ECE parents website.

Has this been useful?  Give us your feedback.

You are welcome to add a link to this page on your website. Copyright belongs to the OECE so please do not copy any content without our written permission.

Information provided is of a general nature. It is provided ‘as is’, and we accept no liability for its accuracy or completeness. See our Terms and Conditions.

Related Posts

many colours of paint concept for early childhood sector groups and early childhood education system

Who is Who in our Sector

Early Childhood Education System. The Stakeholders and Key Organisations Peak Bodies / Largest ECE Service Operators Operators of more than 400 licensed services in our

Read More »
Right of entry and visitors to an early childhood centre

Right of Entry Policy

Regulations require that certain groups of people, including parents, union staff, and public officials, have a right of entry to the early childhood service under certain conditions, and set out the responsibilities of the early childhood service. Below is a […]

Read More »
early childhood research journal online

Early Intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Services and Challenges

Early Intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Services and Challenges. Kathleen Liberty. University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Full reference: Liberty, K. (2014). Early intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Services and challenges. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal. Special Issue: Early Childhood […]

Read More »

World Teachers’ Day – Oct 5, 2022

“World Teachers’ Day is a chance to acknowledge the dedication and fabulous work of teachers. World Teachers’ Day has been held annually in October since 1994 and commemorates teachers at all levels of the education system and worldwide. UNESCO co-convenes […]

To access this member only information, you must purchase Educator Membership.

Read More »
learning stories children looking at their photos

Curriculum Policy – Teaching and Learning, Assessment, Planning and Evaluation

Use and adapt the following curriculum policy to suit your service and meet regulatory requirements. Your curriculum policy must be consistent with the curriculum framework and be informed by assessment, planning, and evaluation (documented and undocumented) that demonstrates an understanding […]

Read More »
comforting child

Kindergarten Girl on Slide Nearly Died From Strangulation

Slide safety. UPDATE: Another case of strangulation showing that lessons have not yet been learnt. A child died in 2016 at Angels Childcare in Auckland due to strangulation on a slide. An Opinion article on Slide Safety By Dr Sarah […]

Read More »
The Office of ECE

Share This Information

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Office of ECE Login

Public Area Categories