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ECE110 | Child Development | Significance of Early Education

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“If solid foundations are laid in the early years, later learning is more effective”

- Deborah Brennan and Elizabeth Adamson

Discuss.

Answer:

Introduction

For the future development of children, it is very important to lay the foundation strong. Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) plays a vital role for the children and their families in the future. The children have to be nurtured properly as the impact of the Early Childhood Education and Care helps in generating high quality results for the children. The Australian government has identified its benefits and have invested billions of dollars for the ECEC services. The ECEC program helps in the overall development of the children by enhancing their various aspects like physical, emotional, motor, language, cognitive and social development.

Comparison of ECEC Practices in Australia & Korea

Each country has a different set of guidelines that are drawn from managing the Early Childhood Education and Care. But the significance of the ECEC has been noticed by many countries around the world, and each country is formulating better programs for the effective implementation of the ECEC.

In Korea, the administration of the ECEC is divided into two authorities that includes the Ministry of Health and Welfare under, which children up to the age of 5 are considered and the other responsibility is bestowed on the Ministry of Education, which includes the children who are in kindergarten that means that children who are at the age of 3 and also include the children who have just started the primary school that means children at the age of 6. This split of responsibility has a number of pros and cons (Watson, 2012). It is a good approach as it will divide the children which will help in focusing better on each child, but the involvement of two ministries has generated a complex system due to which the funding of the ECEC programs will suffer.

For maintaining a high standard of quality in the ECEC program in Korea the quality of service is monitored at a regular interval, that is three years. The Ministries also monitor the staff quality on a yearly basis. This is also conducted to create a huge awareness of the significance of the ECEC (Karvelas, 2012). The ECEC focuses on the many aspects in the process of inspecting the staff and the service quality that includes, working conditions, curriculum implementations, planning of work and regulation compliance. In Korea, the monitoring is conducted by the Child Care Promotion Institute that functions under both the ministries. This institute monitors the staff and service quality at national, local and regional levels. The ECEC system of Korea does not monitor the child development, which is a drawback as the effectiveness of the programs implicated cannot be judged. But the aspects that Korea covers include indoor/outdoor space, health and hygiene regulations, staff-child ratio, safety regulations, learning through play materials, planning of the work staff, working conditions, and human resource management. All these aspects are very important for the smooth function of the ECEC system and in building a strong foundation of children in Korea, which is the future of the nation (Henry, Harmer, Piggott, Ridout & Smith, 2009). 

However, in Australia, the children stay in the ECEC program for a very short while and they get transferred to the school earlier, when compared with the other countries that have implemented ECEC. But Australia still incurs a huge investment in the ECEC program. The country puts a lot of emphasis on the pre-primary education. In the pre-primary stage, the distribution of children is 5 per teacher, which according to the OECD standards can be 14. This is conducted so the teacher offers more attention to each child that helps in generating better quality results in the future (Brennan, 2013). The Australian government has a number of frameworks that can be implemented for implementing the curriculum and evaluating the child development. The frameworks that are utilized by the Australian government include Early Year Learning Framework, Belonging, Being and Becoming and many other. All these frameworks have been introduced by the Department of Education and Training. The system selects the teachers who possess the higher education and fulfills the standards that are stated by the ECEC.

Australia offers two ECEC programs that are integrated programs and only-education programs. The early education covers children from the age of 0 to 3 years that include child care services like family day care and long day care that also involves the implementation of the educational programs that are formulated by qualified educators. The pre-primary education is provided to children between the ages of 3-4 years. The implementation of the educational programs occurs in the accredited institutions. The pre-primary education is only for a very small amount of time as children in Australia are transmitted to the school at the early ages of 4-5 years. The Australian frameworks that have been created for the early childhood education play a very crucial role in the implementation of the ECEC programs (Baker, 2013). The framework Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) cover children who belong to the group of before school age. The other framework that is implicated is the My Time Our Place helps the children in developing after the school. These are national frameworks, but there are many different frameworks depending on the different region’s regulations in Australia. The Australian government believes in providing good educational services in the early years, that should be of high standard, this is the reason why the allocation of children to one teacher is five which is way below the standards that are followed in other countries. 

Conclusion

The comparison between both the countries application style of ECEC explains the importance of the early education in a child’s life. The Australian ECEC has a more clarified approach towards the management of the educational programs that are conducted under the ECEC. The importance of early education has been proven by many studies as the developing mind learns things more easily and the storage memory of children at an early stage is very high. The results of the ECEC have proven to be very beneficial for the children that have been evaluated through the regular assessment of the staff service, quality and the development of the children.

References

Baker, D. (2013). Trouble with childcare: Affordability, availability and quality. In T. A. Institute (Ed.). Canberra: The Australia Institute, 37.

Brennan, D. (2013). Joining the Dots: Program & Funding Options for Integrated Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children's services 2013. In Secretariat Of National Aboriginal And Islander Child Care (Ed.). Melbourne: SNAICC.

Henry, K., Harmer, J., Piggott, J., Ridout, H., & Smith, G. (2009). Australia's Future Tax System (Henry Review). Canberra: Australian Treasury, 589-590.

Karvelas, P. (2012). More rich families get child care rebate. The Australian.

Watson, J. (2012). Starting Well: Benchmarking early education across the world. In Economist Intelligence Unit (Ed.): Economist Intelligence Unit., 6.

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