This section invites visitors and members from all spheres including researchers, parents, educationists, policy makers. The forum will be regularly updated by the Early Scope Experts. Discussions are open for comments, likes and share by Early Scope Members.
The forum can also be used to jointly advocate for policies that promote high quality services for children (under the age of 8 years) and their families.
Discussion on School Readiness Activities
Why do we need to be concerned about school readiness? What are the prerequisite skills and competencies that children need to thrive at school? Can these maximize their learning potential?
At present, all parents want to make a successful start to school for their child, but many parents are unsure as to how they can do this. Additionally, there is lack of understanding among ECE educators as well about how to make children ready for the school.
We bring to you all, this discussion forum as an unique platform to come together and participate, discuss, comment, share ideas and much more!
Inclusion is a word that is understood in many different ways – or perhaps more accurately, inclusion is a term that means different things to different people.
There are many questions that arise when we start talking about inclusion in early childhood, including inclusion of whom and into what?
In 2010 researcher Jennifer Gidley and her colleagues outlined three ways of understanding social inclusion:
- The narrowest understanding relates to inclusion as access, so in early childhood this would involve access to early childhood services;
- A broader understanding is a view of inclusion as participation, this would involve both access and active participation within early childhood services;
- The broadest understanding of inclusion is inclusion as human potential.
A human potential understanding of inclusion involves embracing diversity in all its forms. This involves a process of social transformation whereby individual potential is supported not only through access and participation, but also through a process of actively engaging with the complexity of humanity. Therefore, being able to value all individuals and support their potential without focusing on deficits or seeking to assimilate or change people to fit the system. This focus on possibility and human potential requires not just providing access and supporting participation, but also being open to rethinking the way in which we set up early childhood services.
Inclusion is about everyone, everywhere. However, inclusion often comes to be associated with minority groups because of the tendency for minority groups to be excluded and therefore conscious efforts to fight against that exclusion and segregation become necessary.
Facilitating inclusion is often viewed as an ‘added extra’ or a ‘special effort’ born out of kindness or charity. On the contrary, inclusion is fundamental to a functioning society – thus inclusion is the responsibility of everyone.
Inclusion is not territory for kind-hearted ‘do-gooders’, it is not about granting ‘special favours’, nor about changing someone to fit the elusive ‘norm’ in order to be ‘granted’ access to the community (or indeed the world!). Rather, inclusion is about recognising our shared humanity and moving beyond false notions of entitlement to recognise that for any of us to succeed as members of society we need to be included.
Inclusion requires accepting and celebrating human diversity.
For those of us committed to early childhood care and education (ECCE), we need to ask ourselves how will we create services that are inclusive of all children and families? - and not perpetuate a situation where we create a "them" and an "us" and then make adjustments to fit "them" in. This requires providing access and facilitating participation and engagement, but it also requires systemic change, social transformation and a focus on potential and possibility so that all children belong.
Bringing about inclusion in early childhood in reality is challenging, so we also need to think about why it is important. There are many different reasons or rationales and I would like to provoke discussion by raising a few.
Early Scope Vlog - Dr. Asha Singh
Programs like Sesame Street and Nickelodeon were able to say that children can learn literacy. There are thousands of people through research who say that they learnt English language through Sesame Street as children. So TV can have an impact in being multi-lingual, some amount of language literacy from other languages, some key words which helped make for a better world.”, says Dr. Asha Singh.
The quality of early childhood programs may be defined as the standards met along a small number of program dimensions involving early childhood teachers and what they do in their programs. These dimensions involve teacher preservice education and number of children per teacher, teacher inservice training in and use of a valid child development curriculum, teacher engagement of parents in contributing to their children’s development, and regular assessment of curriculum implementation and children’s development. High-quality early childhood programs meet these standards while low-quality programs do not.
The case for quality in early childhood programs is powerful. High-quality programs, such as the longitudinally studied HighScope Perry Preschool Program and Abecedarian Child Care Program, have been shown to have long-term effects and strong economic return on investment. Low-quality programs do not have these effects. Brain research makes it clear that children are developing critical skills in their early years from birth onward.
At the same time, the case against quality in early childhood programs is implicit and virtually universal. It has to do with simple economics, the allocation of scarce resources. Young children, and their advocates, have little economic or political power. The standard for child survival in early childhood programs is much lower than the standard for their thriving in early childhood programs, for these programs contributing positively to their development. Families are expected to provide for young children, and the role of government towards them is less well established. Long-term effects are harder to measure and link to early childhood programs than immediate effects. But, mainly, competing alternatives for spending money often take priority over spending money on young children.
Early childhood program quality, which might be simply represented as the cost per child for programs, never takes complete precedence over competing priorities. Quality is always determined as some balancing point between maximum contribution to young children’s development and spending nothing at all or merely enough to keep a program open without regard to its quality or effectiveness. This balancing point is the result of the allocation of scarce resources among competing priorities. The obvious way to calculate the cost of a program is to multiply the cost per child for the program times the number of children in it. But other considerations determine the amount of money determined to be available for the program, an amount generally less than the other calculation, leaving only two alternatives – either spend less per child or serve fewer children.
The argument for maximizing economic return on investment is powerful and easily understood.
Despite differences in culture, religion and government, countries in the Asia-Pacific have a shared interest and growing passion transcending ethnic and national groups and boundaries in expanding ECD programs and services. A detailed discussion on each country’s efforts and challenges it faces to universalize ECCD programs and services without compromising quality is presented in the 2011 SEAMEO INNOTECH Report on ECCD Quality Assurance in Southeast Asia. ARNEC (2011) has recognized a few noteworthy programmes in the field of ECD. There are certainly much more noteworthy practices in the Asia- Pacific region . Each of these programmes has a unique strength.
According to ARNEC (2011), a noteworthy practice is a programme, initiative or project that has shown initial promise and effectiveness in responding to a particular need of young children (conception to 8years), and that can serve as an inspiring model for other actors.
ARNEC (2011) defines specific characteristics of noteworthy practices as following:
• Noteworthy practices are useful and practical; they answer a specific need;
• Noteworthy practices show initial effectiveness in addressing the need;
• Noteworthy practices promote holistic responses and empower disadvantaged and excluded groups of children;
• Noteworthy practices mobilize parents and communities to support children’s care and development;
• Noteworthy practices are cost effective and are sustainable over time; they have a clear and realistic sustainability plan
In Sri Lanka, Plantation Rural Education and Development Organization (PREDO), the objective of the programme is to educate the parents, especially pregnant mothers, of the importance of ECCD, preschool education, and health and nutrition of the child.
In India, Mobile Crèches focuses on services/programmes for children under 6 years, with special emphasis on the urban poor child and the migrant child in slums and construction sites.
Bodh ShikshaSamiti is a Rajasthan NGO pioneering innovative approaches