Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: United Kingdom (England) 2012

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Early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring a wide range of benefits – for children, parents and society at large. However, these benefits are conditional on “quality”. Expanding access to services without attention to quality will not deliver good outcomes for children or long-term productivity benefits for society.

This series of country reports focuses on quality issues. Each report tackles a specific theme that was selected by the country reviewed. These reports suggest strengths and point to areas for further reflection on current policy initiatives.


What does research say?

Parental and community engagement can improve the quality of ECEC provision, the quality of parenting and the home-learning environment. Additionally, it can enhance children’s early development and mitigate the negative effects of family background. The continuity of children’s experiences across different environments is greatly enhanced when ECEC centres cooperate with parents and communities and adopt consistent approaches to child development and learning.

The factors of family and community engagement that matter most in enhancing the quality of ECEC and children’s development are: the quality of the home-learning environment; parenting skills; participation in ECEC activities; partnerships between parents, communities and ECEC centres; and partnerships with the wider community. A combination of these approaches is also possible. Sound research on the effects of family and community engagement approaches and evaluations of engagement initiatives are needed.


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