WES 2014 - Early Childhood Education and Care- Keeping the Child in the Centre of it All - Swati Popat, President, Early Childhood Association, Director, Podar Jumbo Kids
CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF EARLY
EDUCATION WORLD CONFERENCE
• Kindergarten children 100 questions per day.
• Primary children 50 questions per day.
• Secondary children 10 questions per day.
• They didn't stop asking questions because they
lost interest: They lost interest because they
stopped asking questions.
Traditionally ‘smartness’ was this old, routine style.
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KIDUCATION ensures kids grow up smarter the
new global way.
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A new report from the Society for Research in Child Development, Investing in
Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education makes a strong case
for the value of early childhood education.
• Large-scale public preschool programs can have substantial impacts on
children's early learning.
• Quality preschool education is a profitable investment.
• The most important aspects of quality in preschool education are
stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children
and effective use of curricula.
• Supporting teachers in their implementation of instructional approaches
through coaching or mentoring can yield important benefits for children.
• Quality preschool education can benefit middle-class children as well as
disadvantaged children; typically developing children as well as children
with special needs; and dual language learners as well as native speakers.
By again including an appeal for support of early childhood education in his
State of the Union message, President Obama has stimulated quite a debate.
• Don't Throw Money at Early Childhood Education
"Policymakers are right to be focused on increasing access to high-
quality early childhood education, but throwing money at the problem
won't get the job done. We need to spend in a way that provides
government-funded preschool providers with incentives to meet the
needs of families they serve, not those of government bureaucrats."
Pre-K, the Great Debate
"Against all odds, prekindergarten is gaining ground.... Aside from
apple pie, preschool may be the only issue on which voters agree. A
poll last year found that 60 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of
Democrats support expansion of prekindergarten- for a simple
reason: It works."
• Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's annual address to the citizens of
Singapore on August 26, 2012, advocated for the importance of play:
"We also need to improve quality of pre-school education....
• "Early years are important for children’s development. Brain is most
receptive to learning at that age, especially learning languages. [Children]
gain confidence and curiosity about the world around them, pick up
positive behaviour, social skills, and learning attitudes. Hence good pre-
school education will prepare students to enter P1 and provide many long-
term benefits thereafter...
"A caution to parents: Pre-school is to teach certain skills which are best
learnt at that age, e.g. languages, social skills, basic motor skills. [We]
must not bring P1 syllabus down to 5-6 year olds. Education experts and
child development experts warn against 'over-teaching' pre-school
children. No homework is not a bad thing; it is good for young children to
play, and learn through play."
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a forthcoming interview with
Bloomberg Radio, reiterated his plans for a big push on early childhood
education in the second term,
• "We have to continue to invest in early childhood
education, That's arguably the most important
investment we can make. Access to pre-K is key to
leveling the playing field for students of all
backgrounds. "If not, we're playing catch-up from the
start," he said. "The more we can increase access to
early childhood education, make sure it's high quality
in reaching those children in communities who
historically have been underserved -- that's the best
investment we can make."
• The challenge, Duncan said, is that early childhood
education is a long-term investment -- longer than the
terms of most political appointees and elected officials.
• The vast differences in
the early experiences of a
child in the ICDS program
and a private program
make it unlikely that the
two children will ever
perform equivalently in
school and later
Its time to invest in kindergartens- the rich become
richer the poor become poorer.
The other brain drain-
• 158.7 million children in the below six years
category (Census 2011)
• 75.7 million children i.e. 48 percent are
reported to be covered under the ICDS
• Significant number is also covered by the
private sector, besides some limited
coverage by the NGO sector for which we
have no data.
Situation of ECCE in India-
We need a defined care and education
• “Child care” for
tens” for the 3- to
• Incorrect selection of unqualified teachers leads to
dissatisfaction both of parents and children which
then results in ‘preschool- daycare hopping’ which
further results in emotional and social problems in
• Instead of educating parents about the
development of the essential five skills (physical,
social, emotional, language, cognitive) in the early
childhood years these centers end up propagating
and promoting rote learning and give a weak
foundation to kids for future learning in math and
•Teacher education is non existent or stagnant
and in turn ending up with teachers who do not
understand children and are unable to handle
them thus resulting in negative practices like
shouting, threatening and abusing children.
•Curriculum for early childhood education
centers is another point of concern as each state
and area defines its own curriculum framework
and give importance to what they perceive will
be required by a child to learn. This results in
incorrect topics, incorrect methods of teaching,
weak foundation of learning the 3 R’s, lack of
readiness activities and learning stress in
What will boost our early childhood policy?
• A National Quality Framework
• A National Quality Standard consisting of
seven Quality Areas:
• A National quality rating and assessment.
• A Regulatory Authority in each state and
• A National body.
• Minimum qualification.
• Minimum wages
• Confusion over course
• Should daycare teachers
be less qualified than
• Responsibilities- first aid.
• Policy draft states-
• Adequate trained staff
should be appointed
What is adequate?
Do we want trained or
qualified and trained?
• CHILD CARE FEES
$60 TO $70 PER
• THE GOVERNMENT
DOES NOT DICTATE
THE FEES OF
PRIVATE SET UPS.
• CHEAPER THE
• PARENT EDUCATION
• HOSPITALS RESPONSIBLE
FOR HEALTH CARE
• NATIONAL PARENTING
• DEVELOPMENT AND
DELIVERY OF ECD
• EXPOSE YOUNG PEOPLE TO
THROUGH THE HEALTH AND
FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION-
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
• PARENT EDUCATION
REGARDING HEALTH AND
• NEED TO EDUCATE
YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT
• ONGOING PARENT
AND EDUCATION OF
1. DEFINE CARE,DEVELOPMENT AND
2. LEAD MINSITRY FOR CARE AND
3. AGE TO BE PRENATAL TO 8 YEARS
4. DEFINE OBJECTIVES
5. RTE GUIDELINES TO BE MATCHED-
AGE OF SCHOOL 6 YEAR
6. DEFINE IDEAL QUALITY
7. NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN
PRIVATE AND GOVT PROGRAMS IN
8. MINIMUM TEACHER QUALIFICATION
TIED TO MINIMUM WAGES
9. TEACHER-CHILD RATIO TO BE
DEFINED WITH MAXIMUM IN GROUP
10. A CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK TO
AVOID SCHOOLIFICATION OF ECE
11. BUDGET OF ECCE TO BE INCREASED
AND DIVIDED BETWEEN CARE AND
12. PARENT EDUCATION TO BE GIVEN
13. REWORK ICDS MODEL
14. HAVE PRIVATE SECTOR
15. INVOLVE ALL EARLY CHILDHOOD
ASSOCIATIONS AND EXPERTS AT THE
BASE STAGE OF POLICY
If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.
15 POINTS TO STRENGTHEN ECCE IN INDIA
• When presently the government/private
players and parents are blissfully unaware
and happy with lack of quality curriculum and
teachers and its long term impact on
• This is where we need 100 monkeys! And the
100th Monkey syndrome will come to our
So how do we achieve this mammoth
• Monkeys on an island in Japan would not eat sweet
potato covered in mud
• Baby monkey starts washing the sweet potato in
water in the lake, other older and younger monkeys
watch and imitate
• Spreads from monkey to monkey on the island.
• One day when 100 monkeys were doing it, it spread
across the sea to other islands.
• The critical mass required for change was achieved.
What is the 100th monkey syndrome?
• That when only a limited number of people
know of a new way, it may remain the
conscious property of these people.
• But there is a point at which if only one more
person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is
strengthened so that this awareness is picked
up by almost everyone!
100th MONKEY SYNDROME MEANS…
• Let quality not be the conscious property of
• Let the field of early childhood education be
strengthened by this awareness and every
centre, every teacher and every parent to
practice, invest in and support QUALITY IN
Let’s bring in the 100th Monkey syndrome in
supporting and practicing quality in early
OUR OWN 100TH MONKEY SYNDROME
Let’s look out for quality
Let’s listen to research in
Let’s talk about quality
and advocate to
players and parents.
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