KDI FOCUS Strengthening the Quality of Care Centers for Young Children 2019.08.21
Series No. No. 95, eng.
- | 스크립트 |
- Can we send our children to child care centers without having to worry? (Interview with the author) Children should be able to attend quality child care centers regardless of the region they live in or their economic background. This study examined the operations and evaluation systems of child care centers in Norway and the Netherlands, and the direction of their early childhood education and care (ECEC) service programs to discover specific measures that would provide each individual child with high-quality child care. Firstly, measures should be sought to enable parents to substantially contribute to the operations of child care centers. Currently, parents are able to participate in the efforts to improve center operations and programs through the centers’ operations committee. But, their roles are limited. As in the Netherlands and Norway, parents in Korea should be allowed to observe their children’s time in care at any time. And, budget execution in terms of meal balance, teacher placement and program implementation, among others, should be made transparent. This will give parents the opportunity to present their suggestions and give them a tangible role in improving the quality of care for their children. In addition, center evaluations should be detail-oriented to encourage centers to seek improvement measures on their own accord. The use of ambiguous terminology under the current evaluation system, for example, ‘high level’ and ‘fairly good,’ makes it difficult for teachers to grasp what they need to change. Therefore, reports must be drawn up with specific details on the field inspector’s observations, similar to the Netherlands. This will not only help centers to upgrade their operations and teachers to enhance their capabilities, but parents will also be able to use the reports to gain deeper insight into their children’s wants and needs. The leadership of the center head should be evaluated on whether there is sufficient communication and agreement between the head and teachers to enable standards to be maintained in the classroom. A breakdown in communication can widen the gap between teachers’ abilities, and inspectors will be able to spot this discrepancy. If teachers are exhibiting varying abilities in their performance, center heads should be provided with manger support programs to enable them to support the development of the faculty. Finally, the direction of care and education at child care centers must be compatible with the demands of future society. As parents’ participation in centers operations becomes more active, more demands could be made in relation to the children’s acquisition of knowledge. However, teachers must design their programs, through discussions with parents, to support the children’s desire to self-learn and to enable them to maintain this enthusiasm throughout their lives. For example, teachers should insert the children’s own experiences into their programs to enable them to talk about their observations and thoughts and expand their curiosity. Through such methods and discussions with teachers, parents will be able to gain more information on their children’s interests. They will also be able to apply such techniques at home and help their children develop other interests. If any extra costs are incurred while designing programs to fit the children’s interests, parents can decide to raise the fees through negotiations with the operations committee. Also, the government could provide differentiated support based on the parents’ income level. By guaranteeing parents’ participation and improving the capabilities of teachers, every child wil be able to receive the care and education that is needed to support and encourage their learning. This in turn will enhance the quality of child care centers and ease the concerns of parents.
□ Public concern over the quality of child care has risen in recent years, deepening the distrust of child care centers. To assure parents of their children’s safety and well-being at care facilities, consistent and full access to the operations of centers must be guaranteed. Based on this openness, parental participation should be encouraged in regards to the decision-making process on care quality as well as active parent-teacher interaction to devise programs that could help children develop essential future skills. It is also important that the detailed results of center evaluations are placed in the public domain to enable the evaluation and accreditation system to contribute to enhancing the quality of child care. Furthermore, teachers should be provided with training programs.
- In response to the growing concerns over the quality of child care, the government has consistently increased the number of public centers and mandated evaluations and accreditation.
- If local public and accredited centers had sufficient placements and parents were satisfied with the quality of care, mothers would more likely use child care and continue their careers.
- According to an analysis of the Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families, an increase in the capacity ratio of local public and accredited child care centers has no impact on maternal employment and use of child care facilities.
- Every child deserves good quality care at any type of facility.
- In Norway and the Netherlands, parents are guaranteed involvement in center operations to improve qualitative transparency, and evaluations are not only diagnostic tools but opportunities to enhance the capabilities of both teachers and parents.
- At the same time, ECEC programs prioritize the children’s development and happiness and are designed to flexibly provide various programs that meet educational needs in consultation with teachers and parents.
- Only when parents have access to budgetary details and consistently observe the quality of care can they substantially participate in the decisions over quality.
- The ‘Curriculum and interaction’ and ‘Care environment’ categories are classified as care practices. As such, abstract evaluations will not be able to motivate centers to seek improvements.
- The evaluation reports for these categories must contain detailed descriptions of child care practices and their meaning from the perspective of child development.
- Child care centers should be provided with consultation services and leadership training for managing staff if teachers exhibit varying abilities in executing care programs.
- As parental participation becomes more active, programs may overly emphasis the faster acquisition of knowledge.
- Problem-solving skills, a key future ability, can be developed when children voluntarily engage in activities that spark their interests, communicate with others in this process and then apply their experiences to real life.
- To consistently support children’s self-directed learning at home and at the center, parents and teachers must actively communicate with each other and build a consensus on the ideal care program and operation.
- If a program demands more resources than what is subsidized by the government and additional support from the parents, the operations committee can hold deliberations to decide on raising the fees.
Ⅱ. Effects of the Supply of Public and Accredited Centers
Ⅲ. Policy Suggestion
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