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Early Childhood Education and Care

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Early Childhood Education and Care

Every year, more than 200 million children under age 5 are not able to reach their full potential in cognitive development potential due to poverty, conflict, malnutrition, inadequate care and lack of educational opportunities. Early childhood care and education – a cornerstone of every child’s development – is one of the most neglected ‘Education For All’ goals, and is unlikely to be achieved by 2015. This year, during Global Action Week, from 22-28 April, advocates are calling on world leaders to ensure that early childhood care and education take place right from the start for every child.

Podcast moderator Kathryn Herzog spoke with Jack P. Shonkoff, MD, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and Chloe O’Gara, Program Officer for the Hewlett Foundation's Global Development and Population Program, about the importance of early childhood care and education and the issues around early learning. Read more...

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The social agenda and early childhood care and education: Can we really help create a better world?

In describing the social agenda and early childhood education and care, this paper by Philip Gammage, Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Education at the University of Nottingham [Bernard van Leer Foundation], looks at the ‘big picture’, taking a broad overview and setting the context or background for the factors that influence the provision of early childhood education and care. The author summarizes recent pertinent evidence in the literature and outlines why it is important to take note of these findings.

 Early learning: lessons from scaling up

Why invest in providing quality early childhood care at scale? There are many answers to this question, each resonating with a different audience. Some see the value of childcare as liberating mothers to go to work. Some view investing in children as a means to ensure that the growing generation will be economically productive in a competitive world. Leonardo Yánez, the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s programme officer for Brazil and Peru, introduces the articles in this issue of Early Childhood Matters and explains the Foundation’s past experiences, current thinking and future plans on the question of scaling-up early learning without losing quality.

The Open University: Culture and learning

Promoting young children’s learning is a major responsibility for professionals and parents, everywhere. It is tied to the broader goal of ensuring ‘the development of the child ... to the maximum extent possible’, which is part of every child’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989, Article 6). One central question is how far development and learning should be understood as cultural processes that vary between communities and societies, and how far as natural processes that are the same for all children, everywhere. This edition of Early Childhood in Focus addresses the major policy questions surrounding the place of culture in early childhood programmes, and how to promote development and learning while respecting cultural diversities. Published in collaboration with the Open University, the ECiF series provides clear reviews of research on key policy and practice issues intended to be of value to policy makers and advocates for the rights of children.