Starting Strong IV

Monitoring Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care

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Research suggests that, when it comes to early childhood education and care, quality matters most. A growing number of countries are establishing monitoring systems to ensure quality and accountability in these programmes. This new publication explores how countries can develop and use these systems to enhance service and staff quality for the benefit of child development. It offers an international perspective and concrete examples to help policy makers, monitoring experts and practitioners in the field develop their own monitoring policies and practices.

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Monitoring child development and outcomes in early childhood education and care (ECEC)

Monitoring child development and outcomes is increasingly widespread, to identify children’s learning needs, enhance their development, raise service quality, staff performance and inform policy making. It is key to choose tools in a way that meets the goals of the monitoring practice and is appropriate to children’s developmental stages. Most practices are locally defined rather than nationally regulated. Many tools are used, covering a broad range of developmental domains. The tools used range from locally designed approaches to standardised tools validated in and adapted to the needs of various countries.The practices used for monitoring differ greatly within and between countries, depending on the age group and settings concerned. Observational tools are most common and often allow to monitor a wide range of domains, from language and literacy to socio-emotional skills. This is also done through narrative assessments. Direct assessments are less widespread and tend to have a narrower focus, e.g. on language skills and health. The key actors monitoring child development and outcomes are ECEC staff, who often perform it in a regular manner, sometimes complemented by monitoring through ECEC managers and external agents. Despite those efforts, further refinement is needed to ensure that the monitoring tools in place can provide more accurate information to support children, staff and policy makers.

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