Parents’ and teachers’ perspectives on changes in childcare quality in the United States, Russia and Finland

Eeva Hujala, Janniina Vlasov, Tünde Szecsi

Abstract


This article reports on the findings of a follow-up study, which examined parents’ and teachers’ perspectives regarding the quality of childcare for 3- to 5-year-old children in the United States, Russia and Finland between 1991 and 2011. The study aims to address a gap in early childhood education (ECE) research by examining how the quality of ECE has changed in international settings over the past decades, thus expanding comprehension of the diversity within the ECE phenomena and its culture-specific nature. With a focus on the quality of ECE, this study examines the parents’ and teachers’ perspectives on key elements of the implementation of ECE in childcare centres: programme structure, curriculum goals, the role of parents and teachers as partners in children’s lives, as well as children’s satisfaction with their childcare. The results indicate that there have been differences in ECE quality between the studied societies both in structural aspects as well as in process and effect factors in all data collection cohorts. It seems that ECE quality and the changes within it may be connected to ECE policy based on the societal values. The results suggest that to understand ECE and its pedagogy, one has to be aware of the value-laden cultural contexts in a society


Keywords


quality; early childhood education (ECE); childcare; cross-cultural research; change; cultural context

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v7i1.538

Submitted: 03 May 2017
Published: 14 November 2017

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South African Journal of Childhood Education    |    ISSN: 2223-7674 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2223-7682 (ONLINE)