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|Title:||The determinants of quality care: review and research report|
|Keywords:||Early childhood education -- Australia.|
Child care -- Australia.
|Publisher:||Sydney University Press|
|Citation:||Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia|
|Abstract:||There is consensus around the world that young children must experience high quality services, not only to ensure the best possible future outcomes, but because children have the right to the best possible present (Elliott 2004; Myers 2004; Wylie & Thompson 2003). All children are found to benefit from high quality early childhood programs, but those from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate stronger advantages (Myers 2004). The catchphrase ‘the importance of the early years’ has now become a call to arms: it is recognised worldwide that we must provide the best possible services to young children and their families (Stanley, Prior & Richardson 2005). However, there is not universal agreement as to what constitutes best possible early childhood services. Understandings of quality are value-based and change as values change (Childcare Resource and Research Unit 2004). Understandings are also different across cultures, religions, contexts and the person or group making the judgment (Friendly, Doherty & Beach 2006). Myers (2004, p.19) argues that ‘different cultures may expect different kinds of children to emerge from early educational experience and favour different strategies to obtain those goals’. There is not a universal definition of quality: in different times and places different kinds of practices are valued as high quality. Despite this, within the Western world, professionals assume at least a basic common understanding (see Cryer, 1999 for example). The European Commission Childcare Network attempted to define these commonalities and came up with 40 quality targets (available at www.childcarequality.org). Analysing the literature from a range of European countries, Myers (2004) argues there is consensus around quality components including safety, good hygiene, good nutrition, appropriate opportunities for rest, quality of opportunity across diversity, opportunities for play, opportunities for developing motor, social, cognitive and language skills, positive interactions with adults, support of emotional development, and the provision of support for positive peer interactions. However, performance indicators identifying how these principles play out in practice differ in different contexts and with different levels of expectations and resources. What is clear is that quality is multidimensional, complex and multi-theoretical (Duigan 2005; Raban, Ure & Wangiganayake 2003). Single indicators of quality are ineffective, as quality outcomes for children are found to relate to a complex interplay of many different factors (Buell & Cassidy 2001).|
|Rights and Permissions:||Copyright Sydney University Press|
|Type of Work:||Book chapter|
|Appears in Collections:||Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia|
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