Early Child Care

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

 

Ms. DeepikaDhingra

Lect. in Early child care & Development

Early childhood is a period of enormous growth and development. Children are developing more rapidly during the period from birth to age 5 than at any other time in their lives, shaped in large part by their experiences in the world. These early years of development are critical for providing a firm foundation in cognitive, language, and motor development, as well as social, emotional, regulatory, and moral development . Stimulating, nurturing, and stable relationships with parents and other caregivers are of prime importance to children’s healthy development, and the absence of these factors can compromise children’s development.

The individuals who comprise the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce are important providers of these early experiences. They form meaningful bonds with the children in their care, and their interactions, behaviors, and teaching practices all influence children’s development, as well as their later school readiness . Moreover, they are affecting the development of an increasing proportion of U.S. children. Current estimates indicate that more than half of the 25.5 million U.S. children under age 6 spend time in the regular care of someone other than a parent in a typical week . These arrangements can include center-based child care, preschool, family child care centers, or informal care arrangements with friends, family, and neighbors, both paidBottom of Form

and unpaid. The term “early childhood care and education” is inclusive of all these arrangements.
At Mount Union, early childhood education majors demonstrate core values such as:

  • Appreciating childhood as a unique and valuable state of the human life cycle and valuing the quality of children's lives in the present, not just as preparation for the future;
  • Basing our work with children on knowledge of child development and learning;
  • Appreciating and supporting the close ties between the child and family;
  • Recognizing that children are best understood in the context of family, culture, and society;
  • Respecting the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual (child, family member, and colleague); and
  • Helping children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships based on trust, respect, and positive regard.

Responsibility for children will always be shared between the family and society. The importance of child care in the exercise of this responsibility is increasingly being recognised. The child-care facility is the third child-rearing environment, alongside the family and school. Child care does not only promote participation in the labour market; it is also a means to create equal opportunities – both for children and their parents.

Child care as part of the multi-track policy for participation in the labour market 14 Child care is organised in the first place because people work. There are other measures that also make a contribution to the combining of work and family responsibilities. More flexible working careers allow employees to make choices to suit their own family needs, which may include staying at home for a while. Child care is one aspect of this multi-track policy, in which the government has to strive to facilitate a social and financial balance between the various alternatives. Almost 80% of parents stay at home with their baby during the first year, even though both countries have very high quality child-care facilities . As in the Scandinavian countries, raising the contributions and more flexibility in the use of “time credit” could result in a fall in demand for child care for one-year-olds.

Surveys of people’s values have shown that families in Flanders value two aspects of their lives most highly: family and work. The Future Group assumes that parents put family first and that family time is increasingly important, but that in the present social context they also want to work or to be encouraged to do so. In the future, child care will have to respond flexibly to new needs created by changes in the way work is organised. Part-time work and flexible working hours have resulted in greater demand for atypical child care, at difficult times and irregular times, and also for walk-in facilities. There is a need to investigate what the barriers to flexibility are, how financial incentives can be used to promote flexibility, and how to plan for occasional and emergency care needs

The Future Group recognises the need to support parents. Because families have fewer children and family networks are looser, parents get less support in their day-to-day dealings with their children. They have a need to exchange experiences and ideas with people who have more experience and expertise than themselves. All facilities for children, such as schools, child-care initiatives and even youth work, have to deal with parents’ questions, often raised very casually. The closer the facilities to the family, the more important role they can play in supporting parents.

The proportion of families with only one child in Flanders is not increasing, but that of families with two or three children is. All the same many children have fewer contacts than they did in the days of larger families or when children still used to play in the street. Because of this child care has an additional value for children who do not have many other children to play with at home.

 

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