Care Work in Europe
    Current understandings and future directions




                Workpackage 7

         Work with...
TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY...................................................................................................
5.4 Theories and inspirations .............................................................................78
  5.5 Conclu...
SUMMARY

Chapter One: Introduction to the report
This report is part of the second stage of a research study Care Work in ...
(kindergarten pedagogues) with children over 3. While in Spain, one occupation
(technicians in early education) works only...
Workers can become sources of advice and information within their own social circles.
When this happens, they try to direc...
specialisation, the level of training for nursery workers being too low, and the inadequacy
of the selection process for c...
broad national guidelines. There were, however, some differences of emphasis between
the two occupations: for example, nur...
the management of centres in Hungary, there are other types of contact, both formal and
informal, as is the case in Spain....
conceptualisation of the worker in centre-based services. It also identifies a number of
current issues and options for fu...
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE REPORT
1.1     Introducing ‘Care Work in Europe’
This report covers the first part of the...
•   Is there a critical discourse going on or do practitioners/trainers/decision makers
       work without considering un...
only in terms of context but also in terms of the way services and workforces are
structured and the underlying orientatio...
practitioners were chosen in Hungary and Spain, as all workers are supposed to have a
qualification; in Denmark, we interv...
Table 2 : Number and position of policy makers interviewed

                                              Denmark         ...
Table 3: Number of trainers interviewed and institutions at which they teach

                                            ...
The practitioners were also asked to show the interviewer around the setting (i.e. to take
us on a ‘tour’) and to explain ...
interpreted and/or understood situations differently due to their previous knowledge. We
raise this as an issue that perha...
using their time to translate the wealth of materials collected was not possible. Therefore
we used the services of a tran...
The Appendix contains the interview guides drawn up for practitioners, trainers and
policy makers; and the self-completion...
CHAPTER TWO : PUTTING WORK WITH YOUNG CHILDREN IN
                        CONTEXT
As we shall see in later chapters, there...
state socialist system, experienced a growth in services for children under and over 3, led by
central government, intende...
Hungary and nearly eight times as many people as Denmark. Denmark, however, stands
out on other indicators. It has a subst...
fusion of universalism with generosity and, secondly, its comprehensive
       socialization of risks (Esping-Andersen, 19...
frameworks for nurseries and kindergartens, which set out broad guidelines for the work
in both types of institution. But ...
2.3 Services: structures

2.3.1 Government responsibility
We have already looked at one dimension of government responsibi...
And now, as noted already, recent legislative changes have led to children under 3 being
removed from education at least a...
and 6 or 7. Both, like the services in Denmark, offer full-time care. Although nurseries
and kindergartens have traditiona...
for 3 to 6 year olds is mainly publicly provided through the school system, though with a
substantial minority of provisio...
Table 5: levels of provision in publicly-funded services
                        Proportion of age group attending (a)

  ...
proportion of parents’ monthly income. Low income families pay a reduced fee or none
at all, and, as a recent initiative, ...
children from 0 to 5 years or older), in classes for 6 year olds in schools and in school-
based leisure-time facilities. ...
the possibility of removing services for children under 3 from education, may also reduce
the number of teachers working w...
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Care Work In Europe

  1. 1. Care Work in Europe Current understandings and future directions Workpackage 7 Work with Young Children A Case Study of Denmark, Hungary and Spain Consolidated Report Marta Korintus Peter Moss January 2004
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS SUMMARY................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE REPORT ............................................8 1.1 Introducing ‘Care Work in Europe’ .................................................................8 1.2 The problem with ‘care work’ .........................................................................9 1.3 The research process ....................................................................................9 1.3.1 Sample selection ...................................................................................10 1.3.2 Instrument development ........................................................................13 1.3.3 Interviews and data collection ...............................................................13 1.3.4 Transcription and coding .......................................................................15 1.3.5 Analysis and writing national reports .....................................................15 1.4 The rest of this report...................................................................................16 CHAPTER TWO : PUTTING WORK WITH YOUNG CHILDREN IN CONTEXT ....18 2.1 Brief historical observations .........................................................................18 2.2 Economic and political influences ................................................................19 2.3 Services: structures .....................................................................................23 2.3.1 Government responsibility .....................................................................23 2.3.2 Types of service ....................................................................................24 2.3.3 Providers of services .............................................................................25 2.3.4 Levels of provision.................................................................................26 2.3.5 Funding for services ..............................................................................27 2.3.6 The workforce........................................................................................28 2.4 Services: orientations...................................................................................30 2.5 Concluding comments .................................................................................33 CHAPTER THREE : THE WORKERS....................................................................35 3.1 The profile of the care workers.....................................................................35 3.2 Employment conditions................................................................................36 3.2.1 Second jobs...........................................................................................38 3.3 Careers ........................................................................................................39 3.3.1 Routes into the work.............................................................................39 3.3.2 Motivation for entering the work ...........................................................40 3.3.3 Career opportunities ..............................................................................42 3.4 Employment and family................................................................................44 3.4.1 The role of a family adviser ..................................................................44 3.4.2 Work-family reconciliation.....................................................................45 3.5 Concluding comments .................................................................................48 CHAPTER FOUR : TRAINING FOR WORK WITH YOUNG CHILDREN...............49 4.1 Basic training ...............................................................................................49 4.2 The students ................................................................................................55 4.3 Opinions on training .....................................................................................57 4.4 Concluding comments .................................................................................60 CHAPTER FIVE : WHAT IS WORK WITH YOUNG CHILDREN? .........................63 5.1 The purpose of services for young children .................................................63 5.2 How is the work understood.........................................................................67 5.3 What skills and capabilities do workers need...............................................75 ii
  3. 3. 5.4 Theories and inspirations .............................................................................78 5.5 Concluding comments .................................................................................80 CHAPTER SIX : THE WORK ENVIRONMENT ......................................................83 6.1 Life in the institution .....................................................................................83 6.2 Relations with parents..................................................................................86 6.3 Regulatory frameworks ................................................................................92 6.4 Concluding comments .................................................................................96 CHAPTER SEVEN : VIEWS ABOUT THE WORK.................................................98 7.1 Status and image .........................................................................................98 7.2 Job satisfaction ..........................................................................................106 7.3 Views about gender ...................................................................................109 7.4 Concluding comments ...............................................................................113 CHAPTER EIGHT : FUTURE DIRECTIONS ........................................................115 REFERENCES......................................................................................................122 APPENDIX A : RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS ......................................................120 iii
  4. 4. SUMMARY Chapter One: Introduction to the report This report is part of the second stage of a research study Care Work in Europe: Current Understandings and Future Directions. It is one of three cross-national studies of particular forms of care work and focuses on centre-based services for young children (i.e. under 6 years): the other two are concerned with services for adults with severe disabilities and residential and domiciliary services for elderly people. The main aim is to provide in-depth studies of understandings of care work in theory and practice – although it is also recognised that the term ‘care work’ is problematic and contentious. This study compares three countries: Denmark, Hungary and Spain (in particular, Catalonia). The study is based on interviews with: practitioners in centre-based services, who were typical of the workforce in terms of qualifications; trainers of practitioners; and local and national (or regional) policy makers. Interviews were supplemented by tours of centres and documentation. Chapter Two: Putting work with young children in context All three countries have been going through a major process of decentralisation; main responsibility for services for young children has been passed to regional governments or local authorities. But contextually, the three countries differ in terms of welfare regime, per capita GDP, female and part-time employment, and taxation levels. The countries also provide striking contrasts in the organisation of services for young children. Denmark has developed an extensive and fully integrated system of services located within the welfare system. Hungary has a ‘split’ system, with nurseries for children under 3 years in welfare and kindergartens for children 3 to 6 years in education. Spain, in 1990, integrated all services within education, but is reverting to a more split system again due to a new law. Parental leave policies, which can impact on service demand, also contrast: Denmark offers a year’s paid leave, Hungary 3 years paid leave and Spain 3 years leave mostly unpaid. Many services in all three countries are age-segregated (i.e. either for children under or over 3), although Denmark has a substantial amount of age-integrated provision. Family day care is widespread for children under 3 in Denmark, but is uncommon in the other two countries. Most services in Denmark and Hungary are provided by public authorities; in Spain there is a large private sector for children under 3, much of it for profit. All three countries have high levels of publicly-funded provision for children over 3 (over 90 per cent), but Denmark has far higher levels for children under 3 (over 50 per cent). Whereas provision in Denmark and Hungary is mainly publicly funded, Spanish provision relies more on parental fees. Each country has two main occupations working in centre-based services for young children. In Denmark there is a single main profession working across the whole age range: pedagogues. They are supplemented by pedagogue assistants. In Hungary, there is one occupation (nursery workers) in services for children under 3, and another 1
  5. 5. (kindergarten pedagogues) with children over 3. While in Spain, one occupation (technicians in early education) works only with children under 3, while another (a new teacher specialism) works with children across the whole age range. Pedagogues and teachers have tertiary level training, but nursery workers and technicians (who work only with children under 3) have upper secondary level training. Pedagogy underpins policy and practice in Denmark, a holistic concept that recognises the whole child and the inseparability of care, learning, development and upbringing. Although services for young children in Hungary are divided between welfare and education, all adopt a holistic approach captured in the term nevelés (upbringing) and provide both care and education. Policy in the 1990s in Spain has emphasised an educational perspective for the whole age range, rather than just childcare (though this may now be changing with a new emphasis on childcare in services for children under 3). Chapter Three: The workers Male workers constitute about 5 per cent of the workforce in Denmark. There are very few male workers in Hungary and Spain, attempts to include interviews with two male workers proving impossible There are considerable variations in salaries. Danish workers, who are strongly unionised, earn substantially more than Spanish workers, while Hungarian workers have very low pay (although improved by a recent rise). However, the ratio of earnings between workers with young children in Denmark and Hungary with the highest qualifications (pedagogues and kindergarten pedagogues respectively) and school teachers was similar: about 85 per cent. Earnings in Spain vary considerably according to qualification and age of children worked with, and between public and private sectors and regions. Danish pedagogues start training on average in their late 20s, often after other work experience or education: many work as pedagogue assistants first. There is often an element of chance in how they get into work with young children and few had always wanted to work with children. Hungarian and Spanish workers are more likely to train soon after leaving school, and to say they always wanted to work with children. Money was not a motive for entering or remaining in the work. Realisation of how responsible and wide-ranging the work is may only gradually emerge with experience. Career opportunities vary between the countries, and this is linked to different structuring of the workforce and its training. Danish pedagogues have more opportunities: their generalist training qualifies them to work with children, young people and adults across a wide range of settings, and they can also work in training, municipalities or trade unions. Career opportunities, whether upwards or sideways, are far fewer in the other two countries: the basic qualifications are far more specialised, to work only with a particular group of children. In Hungary, advancement is limited to being the director or deputy director of a nursery or kindergarten even if workers complete further training courses. Spanish workers face similar limits to their careers. 2
  6. 6. Workers can become sources of advice and information within their own social circles. When this happens, they try to direct friends and relatives in a tactful and careful way not prescribing what they should do. Most workers still had children at home, though few were very young. Mostly, combining work and family life did not cause many problems, often because of flexibility in arranging work schedules but also because in Denmark and to a lesser extent Hungary the state offers support to working parents. A number of Spanish workers referred to advantages of the work: convenient hours (for those working in schools) and the possibility of getting a place in a service for their own young children. The workforce in each country is rather stable and committed to the work, despite some dissatisfaction with pay. Chapter Four: Training for work with young children Work with young children in centres in our three case countries requires a basic training (except for pedagogue assistants in Denmark). In recent years, there has been an upward movement in levels of training, with a substantial body of staff in all three countries now trained at tertiary level. No informants doubted the necessity not only for training and qualification, but also at a high level. Danish pedagogues do a 3½ basic training in a ‘pedagogue college’; this is the result of an amalgamation in 1992 of three types of pedagogue with three different types of training. A high priority in training is given to creative subjects and practice placements. Although there are national guidelines for pedagogy courses, colleges have considerable freedom in both content and methods. The admissions system encourages a rather diverse student body. Most students start training in their late 20s, though there is a tendency towards younger students. A 19 month course has recently been introduced for pedagogue assistants. Training for nursery workers and kindergarten pedagogues in Hungary is at different levels, in different institutions, under different Ministries and with somewhat different orientations: both, however, include a substantial amount of practice. Both are being upgraded, with a higher level qualification for nursery workers devoting more attention to pedagogy; and the integration of teacher training colleges with universities. Training for teachers and technicians in Spain is also at different levels, but both have substantially less practice than in the other two countries. Courses in Spain and Hungary are more centrally regulated than in Denmark, giving less scope for local difference. Much of the reflection in Denmark today is around the possibilities and limitations of a very generalist basic training: the argument for the ‘generalist approach’ is that certain common capabilities are required by pedagogues whoever they work with, while others argue that important specialist capabilities are lost. In Hungary, practitioners often said that the practice element of training was inadequate, and that more emphasis needed to be placed on applied knowledge and problem-solving thinking. Other issues concerned over- 3
  7. 7. specialisation, the level of training for nursery workers being too low, and the inadequacy of the selection process for courses. The main criticism in Spain was about the practice element in training, mainly that there was too little practice; but there is also an issue about the student’s position while on placement and about the role of the placement institution, in particular how actively it is engaged in the educational process. A further concern is the lack of employment for graduates. Opportunities for further training are available in all three countries – and compulsory in Hungary. Important questions concern not only the range of subjects and courses available and accessibility, but also the levels at which training is available and to what extent further training opens the way to new occupational choices. Chapter Five: What is work with young children? This chapter gets to the heart of the study - how is work with young children understood - by exploring the purpose of centres for young children, how the practitioners view their work, what skills and capabilities are required, and the influences on the work. Danish practitioners share the general policy orientation that services for young children are far more than childcare for working parents: they have a broad social function contributing to children’s upbringing and ‘cultural formation’. Centres are places where groups of children and adults live together, participating in a community. They create spaces where children are happy, can live a good life and develop; they prepare children for life, and provide ‘spaces’ for the transmission and production of culture. At the same time as providing for all children, services also have a preventive and support role for more vulnerable children and families. The work of the Danish pedagogue is shaped by interlinked ideals about values, images of the child and relationships; these define what they are working towards and their practices. They focus on the perspective of the child: their task is to be there for the children, to live alongside children and to work through relationships; to guide, support, motivate and create opportunities - but not to direct their activities; to act as role models for the children. They support children’s learning and development, but distinguish themselves from school teachers. Learning does not require a curriculum and is broader than the transmission of subject-based knowledge: pedagogues emphasise social and cultural aspects. Their ideal for development is an autonomous, competent and democratic human being. High importance is also attached to nature. Being a pedagogue is not confined to working with children; they have a lot to do with parents. Hungarian practitioners also see their work in holistic terms – meeting children’s physical and psychological needs and supporting their learning and development. They play an important role in children’s socialisation. Both nursery workers and kindergarten pedagogues view their work as involving the development of children’s autonomy and the creation of opportunities for learning. Both attach importance to ‘active learning’, where the emphasis is on children’s own experience, and both prioritise the role of play in this learning process. In today’s Hungary, pluralism and choice are emphasised, with centres allowed to choose their own approach to working with young children within 4
  8. 8. broad national guidelines. There were, however, some differences of emphasis between the two occupations: for example, nursery workers give more importance to care; while during the kindergarten years, children’s education becomes increasingly more structured and kindergarten pedagogues place more emphasis on passing on cultural values and helping children reach school readiness (though distinguishing themselves and their methods from school teachers). Being a nursery worker or kindergarten pedagogue involves working with parents, both on a day-to-day basis, but also on occasion when there are problems within the family. As in Denmark, there is a feeling that centres are increasingly supplementing or complementing the role of parents in a fast changing world. Spanish workers confirm a basically educational understanding of their work, with the first 3 years of life regarded as of great importance for learning. In no case does the concept of ‘care’ dominate understandings of work with young children - though in all three countries care is recognised as an important part of the larger, more holistic concept defining the work. Danish pedagogues give high priority to capabilities to do with relating, communicating and reflexivity. As the pedagogical culture has a strong democratic element, willingness and ability to discuss are important qualities. Hungarian practitioners, by contrast, consistently emphasise the need to like children and to have commitment, meaning a complete focus on the child. Hungarian practitioners are less articulate and expansive about their work than their Danish counterparts. Possible reasons include the background of the researchers, and the effects of different training and political regimes. Chapter Six: The work environment Much of the time in Danish centres is given over to children’s free play; providing children with time and space to play is a fundamental element of the daily work. Outdoor activities are also given high priority. Overall, the day is a mixture of routine and spontaneity, which requires very open and democratic ways of working together. In Hungary, too, most time is spent on play (both inside and outside), though with some adult initiated activities for the older children. In Denmark and in Hungary, there are regular meetings both for all staff and for smaller groups in the institutions. But organization and coordination of work also takes place through many informal contacts throughout the day. Workers have considerable influence on the way institutions are run; managers are said to listen to innovative ideas and support their implementation. Spanish centres vary far more in their opening hours: centres in Denmark and Hungary are generally open all day. Cooperation with parents in Denmark is an important element of the pedagogue’s work: this can vary from providing advice, to routine meetings through to sitting with parents on parent committees, which all centres must have. Though parents are not involved in 5
  9. 9. the management of centres in Hungary, there are other types of contact, both formal and informal, as is the case in Spain. Spain, however, has had an important experience since the 1960s whereby some centres have been run as parent-worker cooperatives: these cooperatives have influenced forms of parent/staff contact today. The decentralised Danish system has only a minimal national regulatory framework; there is no national curriculum or inspection system; responsibility for regulation is devolved to local authorities and they, together with centres, are responsible for the pedagogical work. Hungary has an inspection system, together with broad national curriculum guidelines. In the 1990s, Spain introduced a curriculum, standards and an inspection system, all subject to regional implementation and variation. The inspection system, however, has not been fully implemented especially among private centres for children under 3 years. Chapter Seven: Views about the work Workers in all three countries consider their work to be very important - for children, families and society. They vary more, however, in their views about how the work is seen and valued by others. Danish informants say the status of the work has improved in the last 20 years, one reason being its increasing centrality in the lives of Danish families. But informants in Hungary and Spain feel the work has low social recognition. Many Hungarians related that to the very poor pay. Workers in both countries felt that the educational importance of work with children under 3 was still not widely accepted. This is reflected in a two tier system where services for children under 3 and their workers lag behind services for older children. In general, practitioners express satisfaction with their work; the best thing is being with the children. They also like being able to decide their work. There was no clear and consistent answer from Danish practitioners about the worst aspects of the work. Hungarian and Spanish workers are most dissatisfied with pay and low social recognition. This social positioning of work with young children was often explained in terms of the public having limited knowledge of and understanding about the work. This was a particular problem for nurseries, working with the youngest children. Despite the centrality of gender to work with young children, gender as an issue did not come up spontaneously during the research. While the issue has been the subject of considerable public and professional discussion in Denmark, there has been no public discourse in Hungary either under the socialist regime or since transition and there are no men to be found in the work. In Spain working with children has been treated as women’s work, and there are hardly any men as students or workers. Staff in all three countries feel it would be good to have more male workers. Chapter Eight: Future directions The chapter offers some conclusions about the current situation of work with young children (e.g. how the work is structured; how it relates to other work with children; training; pay and status; the situation of workers not in centres) and about the 6
  10. 10. conceptualisation of the worker in centre-based services. It also identifies a number of current issues and options for future directions. The report ends by recognising the increasing complexity of work with young children, a process which will continue for the foreseeable future. Over a century or more, the purposes of services have broadened. ‘Childcare for working parents’ has increasingly merged with more developmental and educative aims. As a result, services for young children have developed a wider pedagogical purpose that combines learning, care and other facets of upbringing, including the child’s development as an autonomous and active participant in democratic society. Ideas of the child are changing too, from the empty vessel and knowledge reproducer, an object of adult attention, to a citizen and co- constructor of knowledge, culture and identity, a subject of rights and participation. Parents are seen as being, at the same time, more uncertain and more demanding, requiring more support as fellow citizens and more deference as consumers with increasingly ‘flexible’ demands on services. Centres are social institutions which offer a collective life, yet they are operating in an increasingly individualistic context; they provide for the generality of children, yet are increasingly expected to include children with ‘special needs’. This complexity needs factoring in to consideration of the future direction of work with young children. It means, for example, that terms such as ‘childcare services’ (routinely used, for example by the European Commission), and indeed ‘care work’ and ‘care workforce’, are too simple and narrow. They no longer, if they ever did, do justice to the work. 7
  11. 11. CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE REPORT 1.1 Introducing ‘Care Work in Europe’ This report covers the first part of the second stage of a research study, Care Work in Europe: Current Understandings and Future Directions. The work is funded by the European Commission as part of its Fifth Framework Programme, and involves research partners in six partner countries: Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The overall objective is to contribute to the development of good quality employment in caring services that are responsive to the needs of rapidly changing societies and their citizens. More specific objectives include: describing and analysing the current care workforce; comparing different understandings of care work and different approaches to the structure and practice of care work; identifying conditions necessary for the development of employment that is both of good quality and sufficient to meet growing demand; and contributing to the development of innovative approaches, both in care work and cross-national research. The project has three stages. The first stage, completed in 2002, involved mapping, surveying and reviewing: mapping care services and the care workforce; surveying demand, supply and use of care services; and reviewing recent literature on quality, job satisfaction and gender issues in the care workforce. For each part, national reports were prepared by all six research partners followed by consolidated reports based on these national reports. These consolidated reports have also reviewed other literature, particularly cross-national work, and statistical sources. National and consolidated reports, including an overview report on Stage One, and summaries of consolidated reports are available on the project website at www.ioe.ac.uk/tcru/carework.htm (all in English, with summaries available in the languages of other partner countries, as well as Russian). The third stage, scheduled to begin in Spring 2004 will look at innovative developments in care work, as well as undertake dissemination of the project’s findings. The heart of the project, however, is the second stage. This consists of three cross-national case studies to investigate in depth particular forms of care work: centre-based work with children under 6 years, the subject of this report; residential and domiciliary services for elderly people; and services for adults with severe disabilities. The second stage is completed by a fourth piece of work, which involves the development of methods for the cross-national study of practice. The main objective of the three case studies is to provide in-depth studies of understandings of caring work in theory and practice. Within these broad objective, the three case studies address a number of particular questions: • How is care work understood? • What are the important changes in society that shape/influence services and thus care work? • What are the important theories that shape/influence practice? 8
  12. 12. • Is there a critical discourse going on or do practitioners/trainers/decision makers work without considering underlying principles/theories? • How well does the training prepare for the work? • What is the prestige of care work like? • What is the quality of care work like? • What opportunities are there for development and/or sharing experience? • Are there issues that arise across groups of policy makers, trainers, practitioners? • Are there issues that arise across groups or settings? • What is very important in the relationship between the carer and the child? 1.2 The problem with ‘care work’ Although this project carries the title of ‘care work’, the research team have recognised from the beginning that the term is problematic and contentious. As we shall see in this report, the concept ‘care work’ is of limited relevance when considering services for young children. Other concepts such as ‘education’ or ‘pedagogy’ are often seen as more relevant and appropriate for describing these services, while workers are often described as ‘pedagogues’ or ‘teachers’ rather than ‘carers’. This is not to deny that children (like adults) need care (however defined). But care may be viewed as inseparably linked to another concept – as, for example, in the widespread international use of terms such as ‘early childhood education and care’(cf. UNESCO, 2002) – or as one part of a broader, holistic concept – for example, pedagogy discussed further below – and may not therefore be considered to merit a distinct policy or occupational field. However, although we treat the concepts of ‘care work’ and ‘care services’ as problematic, to be questioned throughout the study, we have had to adopt a pragmatic approach. To conduct the research, we needed an initial definition of what services and occupations fall within a ‘care work domain’, which is our subject of study. Our definition has focused on three groups of services: • childcare and out-of-school care (including schooling for children below compulsory school age); • child and youth residential and foster care; and • care for adults with disabilities and elderly people. This case study, therefore, takes us deeper into one part of a large area of provision and work. 1.3 The research process Each part of Stage One involved working across all six partner countries. The parts of Stage Two are more selective, each focusing only on three countries to enable more in- depth study. The selection of countries for each case study partly reflected the interests of research partners. But we have also sought for each case a spread of countries differing on important dimensions. In this case of services for young children, the three countries are Denmark, Hungary and Spain (in the case of Spain, the work was conducted in one region, Catalonia): the lead partner, taking overall responsibility for the work, came from Hungary. As we shall see in the next chapter, these countries show strong differences, not 9
  13. 13. only in terms of context but also in terms of the way services and workforces are structured and the underlying orientation of services. As Hantrais (1996) points out, cross-national studies serve more and more as ways of gaining a better understanding of different cultures and societies. They also provide a deeper understanding of issues and help identify gaps in knowledge. The main benefit is that researchers are “forced to attempt to adopt a different cultural perspective, to learn to understand the thought processes of another culture and to see it from the native’s perspective viewpoint, while also reconsidering their own country from the perspective of a skilled, external observer” (p.6.). We concur with definition supplied by Stakes (2000) that case studies are not a ‘method’ but rather a choice of object to be studied. Individual cases in the collection may or may not be known in advance to manifest some common characteristic. They may be similar or dissimilar, redundancy and variety each important. They are chosen because it is believed that understanding them will lead to better understanding, perhaps better theorizing about a still larger collection of cases (p. 437). The object of this study is work with young children in centre-based services. We have used qualitative methods as our method of study. On the basis of knowledge gained in Stage One of the project (some material from which has provided contextual information for the current Stage) and regular communication between the research partners involved (including four meetings between the three partners on this particular case study), a strong effort has been made to ensure as much comparability as possible within and across the three participating countries in this case study and across all the case studies in the second phase of the Care Work project. We have developed and used a common framework both for the research process and the analyses. – although applying some flexibility to allow for some of the unique features of individual countries. The research process has included several components, including sample selection, instrument development, interviews and data collection, transcription, coding, analysis, and writing national reports. We discuss each of these below. 1.3.1 Sample selection Sample selection involved choosing geographical areas, settings and individuals based on a common set of criteria. As a general principle, it was agreed that partners choose typical settings and workers, representing the mainstream situation in their country: the object of the case study has therefore been the usual rather than the unusual. In each case country, ‘typical’ types of services were selected from (a) major cities (Copenhagen, Budapest and Barcelona); (b) medium-sized cities of around 250,000 inhabitants; and (c) smaller towns with 30-50,000 and 5-10,000 inhabitants. The original intention, achieved in the event, was to interview 12 practitioners in each country working in six settings, spread across the different types of area. Qualified 10
  14. 14. practitioners were chosen in Hungary and Spain, as all workers are supposed to have a qualification; in Denmark, we interviewed mainly qualified workers but also two without qualifications (Table 1). Finally, a decision was made to interview two family day carers in each country. They provide for a substantial proportion of children under 3 years in Denmark, and have recently been introduced in Hungary. As Table 1 shows, two family day carers have been interviewed in Denmark and in Hungary; a group interview was also conducted with three workers responsible for family day care in one local authority in Denmark. These family day carers are not included in this report, but are included in the national reports. It was not possible to find this type of worker in Catalonia, so interviews were conducted with two other kinds of worker involved with home-based care. Table 1 : Number and type of practitioners interviewed Denmark Hungary Catalonia (Spain) Practitioners in centres 4 pædagoger 6 gondozónő 3 maestras for children under the (pedagogue) (nursery workers) especialistas en age of 3 educación infantil (teachers) 3 técnicas en educación infantil (technicians or nursery workers) Practitioners in centres 2 pædagoger 6 óvónő 3 maestras for children between 3 2 pædagogmedh- (kindergarten especialistas en and school age jælpere (untrained pedagogue) educación infantil assistants) 1 pedagogo (pedagogue) Practitioners in age 4 pædagoger 1 maestra integrated centres (for especialista en children between 0-6 educación infantil years of age) 1 técnica en educación infantile Practitioner in family 2 dagplejere 2 Családi napközi 1 canguro (home- day care/other home- (family day carers) ellátást nyújtó based carer in based care személy (family child’s home: day carer) técnica) 1 coordinator (teacher and pedagogue) Interviews were planned with four policy makers in each country. Our selection criteria were to choose 1 or 2 policy makers at national or regional levels (in relevant Ministries), 2 at local level (in local authorities), and 1 in a trade union. In the end, five interviews were conducted in two countries (Table 2). 11
  15. 15. Table 2 : Number and position of policy makers interviewed Denmark Hungary Catalonia (Spain) Ministry 1 2 1 Local authority 2 3 1 Trade union 1 1 Parent association 1 Group of 3 responsible for family 1 day care in one local authority In Denmark, the policy-makers interviewed included: the head of the department responsible for child and youth services in the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs, who has national responsibility for services for young children (from 0 to 6 years); high-ranking officials from two of the municipalities in which the practitioner respondents worked; and the president of the trade union for pedagogues (qualified workers who make up most of the workforce in services for young children), BUPL. In addition, a brief group interview was conducted with three officials working with family day care services in one municipality. In Hungary, one policy maker was chosen from the Ministry of Health, Social and Family Affairs, responsible for centres for children under 3 years, and another from the Ministry of Education, responsible for centres for children between 3 and school age. Three local authority officials were also interviewed: one responsible for centres for children under 3 years and one responsible for centres for children between 3 and school age within the same municipality, and the third responsible for both types of service in a small town. In Catalonia, interviews were conducted with one policy maker in the Department of Education in the regional government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya); one from the local authority for the county of Barcelona (Diputación de Barcelona), one trade union representative and one representative of a parent association. Finally, six trainers, i.e. people engaged in educating workers for services for young children, were also interviewed in each partner country. The aim of the selection was to include at least one trainer involved in teaching practice and one involved in teaching pedagogical or other type of theory. The choice of persons for the interviews was to reflect each country’s training system, for example the typical types of educational institutions and the right mix of public and private institutions. Questions about policy on training were included in the interview with national or regional policy makers, but not with these trainers. The selection for the sample is shown below in Table 3. It can be seen that most trainers work in institutions at the tertiary level, reflecting the relatively high level of training for many practitioners in the three countries. 12
  16. 16. Table 3: Number of trainers interviewed and institutions at which they teach Denmark Hungary Catalonia (Spain) University 4 Pedagogue training college (tertiary 4 level) Teacher training college (tertiary 3 level) School for professional training 2 3 2 (upper secondary level) 1.3.2 Instrument development A range of research instruments were developed: • Interview guides (See Appendix A1) • Self-completion practitioner questionnaires (See Appendix A2) • Guidelines for a ‘tour’ of each centres • Document analysis (key documents were listed for analysis) • Photographs to be taken at each site. Separate interview guides were developed for practitioners, policy makers and trainers. These focus on common issues concerning care work with young children. But each guide has some specific questions related to the particular circumstances and job of the informants. The questionnaire completed by practitioners and tour guidelines complemented the interview with practitioners. Their purpose was to collect relevant factual information about the practitioner herself, as well as some standardized information about the job itself, satisfaction with the job and opinions about the purpose of the work. Information about the centre (such as the size of the centre, number of children, number of staff, etc.) was collected either from a questionnaire completed by the director or from documents. 1.3.3 Interviews and data collection The interview with practitioners always began by inviting them to talk, without guidance from the researcher, about their career in care work; more specific questions followed later. This technique proved to be effective in ‘warming up’ the informants. The interviews always took place at the location where our informants were employed. The environment was considered to be a part of the history/narrative we were interested in. The informant could describe the environment for us, but our observations also became an important part of the analyses. 13
  17. 17. The practitioners were also asked to show the interviewer around the setting (i.e. to take us on a ‘tour’) and to explain what is done in each part of the centre, how and why. The aim was to understand the service better and to assess how the environment might assist her/his work. The conversation during this tour was recorded and photos were taken, either during the tour or at another time. At the end of the visit, when the interview and the ‘tour’ were done, key documents from the centre were collected for analysis. There was much variation here, both in availability and content, across centres and across countries. Documents included: • guidance on different forms of practice • policy documents • curriculum - for training workers - for work with children • documentation on children - attendance - development records - health checks - daily routines, etc. • reports for local authorities The research team paid careful attention to providing thorough information about the aims and scope of the research project, and to using letters and consent forms to ensure the centres and the informants knew what they were participating in and agreed to the use of the collected information, data, recordings and photos in the research project. Their anonymity was assured with respect to sensitive data. The process of instrument development and data collection (interview, questionnaire, tour, documents, photos) were formulated and agreed upon through intensive discussions among the research team members. A consensus was reached whereby the core framework had to be followed by each partner but it was accepted also that some questions were more relevant for some countries than others. So, it was left to the researchers to adopt the core framework to national specificities. There was some difference in the information collected in Spain compared to Denmark and Hungary. Interviews with practitioners, trainers and policy makers, the central method used in the research, were conducted in all three countries. But the complementary measures (e.g. questionnaires, tours, photos) were not undertaken in all the Spanish centres due to organizational problems. Most interviews in Hungary were conducted by more junior researchers, whereas in Denmark two senior researchers, also involved in teaching pedagogues, undertook the fieldwork. Each deployment has advantages and disadvantages. For example, researchers might have probed to a greater or lesser extent during the interviews, and might have 14
  18. 18. interpreted and/or understood situations differently due to their previous knowledge. We raise this as an issue that perhaps needs more consideration. 1.3.4 Transcription and coding Altogether, interviews were conducted with 42 practitioners, 14 policy makers, and 18 trainers and then transcribed and coded. Recordings from the ‘tour’ were also transcribed and coded whenever it was appropriate (especially by the Danish partner since pedagogues in Denmark talked a lot during the tours as well, elaborating on the pedagogical aspects of the environment). Core codes were developed for analyzing the transcripts, with 27 codes which were the same for the three countries, organised into six broad overarching categories: 1. Dominant discourses : purpose of service/understanding of care/status and image of work/role of the worker 2. Views about children 3. Work: daily work/working environment/working conditions/organisation and management/special tasks/inspiration/inspection 4. Practitioners: gender/motivation/career/family life/job satisfaction/good advice for others 5. Training and development : personal competencies/professional competencies/ view of training/the teachers/about students 6. Problems, changes and new directions: need for changes/flexibility/recruitment and retention/renewal The interviews were coded using the programme Nudist NVivo 1.3. Training in this programme was provided in by Charlie Owen from the Thomas Coram Research Unit in a two day session 1.3.5 Analysis and writing national reports As far as possible, all of the data sources - interviews, questionnaires, observation/tours, photos - were integrated into the analysis, including those that were not coded. The original plan was for the lead partner in this study to work on the data collected by each participating partner: under this arrangement the other two partners would have been data collectors, with analysis left entirely to the lead partner. After much discussion, a change was agreed. Each partner produced a national report, based on their analysis of their own data. This was done because it was felt that a good understanding of each country’s system, culture and nuances of expression and communication was important for interpreting the data. Several times during the work, we had to use translated materials. The pilot interviews done by each partner, examples of selected codes from main interviews and the national reports were translated into English. We were aware of the drawbacks, including the risk of losing meaning through the translation process, but cross-national research cannot be done without using a common language. The partners in the project all speak English, but 15
  19. 19. using their time to translate the wealth of materials collected was not possible. Therefore we used the services of a translation agency and tried to control for their lack of expertise in childcare. Birbili (2000) points out that factors affecting the quality of translation in social research include: the linguistic competence of the translator, his knowledge of the culture / people in question, and the availability of researchers to monitor and/or describe the choices in the translation procedure. Some of these factors are beyond the researchers’ control but some can be controlled for, at least partially. For example, we provided continuous support to the translators by giving them a translation of key words, commenting on translated excerpts and shorter chapters and by consulting them whenever there was a need. The results are not perfect, but we found this way of working effective and a good solution to carry on cross-national studies that include the analysis of a great amount of qualitative data. Our work was also supported by the many opportunities we have had to meet to consult and to discuss our process and materials. We believe these meetings contributed to the success of our study just as much as any of the research methods. A clear conclusion that we draw is the importance of maximizing the number of meetings. 1.4 The rest of this report This consolidated report is written on the basis of three national reports: • National report from Denmark prepared and written by Helle Krogh Hansen and Jytte Juul Jensen • National report from Hungary prepared and written by Marta Korintus, Györgyi Vajda and Zoltan Torok at the National Institute for Family and Social Policy • National report from Spain prepared and written by Anna Escobedo and Esther Fernández on the basis of interviews undertaken by a fieldwork team at the CIREM Foundation. Irene Balaguer was consulted in the revision of the report. The rest of this report consists of seven chapters, together with an Appendix. In Chapter 2 we set the three case studies in national context, in particular looking at the recent history and current structure and orientation of services for young children in Denmark, Hungary and Spain. In Chapter 3 we look in more detail at the practitioners who were interviewed, including their socio-demographic profiles and how and why they entered the work. Chapter 4 covers training, both initial and continuous. What type of training is needed as a basis for work with young children, and what is on offer after starting work? Chapter 5 considers the core issue – how is work with young children understood, and what qualities are thought necessary to do it. Chapter 6 is about the work environment, the framework of relations and regulation within which the work is conducted. Chapter 7 examines views on the work – what the workers themselves think about it and how they think others view it. Then we offer some conclusions about the present state of the work and possible future directions in Chapter 8. 16
  20. 20. The Appendix contains the interview guides drawn up for practitioners, trainers and policy makers; and the self-completion practitioner questionnaire. 17
  21. 21. CHAPTER TWO : PUTTING WORK WITH YOUNG CHILDREN IN CONTEXT As we shall see in later chapters, there are substantial differences in work with young children and the situation of the workers in the three countries in this case study. These differences are the consequence of many influences and conditions that create a unique context for each country. In this chapter, we outline some key parts of that context, starting with some brief historical observations, then considering political and economic features, before focusing down on the services themselves, how they and their workforces are structured, levels of provision and important concepts underlying policy and practice. Although we have drawn here on national reports for this study, we have also gone back to national reports prepared for Stage One of the study. 2.1 Brief historical observations Our three countries, like other European states, have histories of services for young children going well back into the 19th century. Just to take one example, the first óvoda (kindergarten) opened in Hungary in 1828, and was the first such institution in Central Europe. While the first Hungarian bölcsőde (nursery) for under threes, was established in 1852. We shall focus on more recent history, over the last 50 years or so. Here Denmark has a rather different experience. Like many other countries, there were two traditions in Danish services: a welfare tradition, dating back to the 19th century, to provide care for children from poor families while their parents worked; and a more educational tradition, dating back to the end of the 19th century, initially offering kindergartens for well-to-do families. These traditions began to fuse as early as the beginning of the 20th century, but full integration only occurred in the 1960s with the extension of public funding to all services, not just those taking a quota of children with special welfare needs. The whole integrated system subsequently grew to its present extensive state, providing a near universal service (see below), initially driven by the increase in maternal employment that began in the late 1960s. But more recently, demand has been driven by a more general desire among parents for their children to go, from an early age, to a service for social and educational reasons. A Danish national report from an earlier stage of the study described a tendency (among Danish parents) towards regarding early childhood care and education as part of lifelong learning which means that parents more and more want their children to attend a childcare facility, not only for the reason that they are being taken care of when parents are working, but as a place for play, socialisation and community… [T]he policy that childcare is an offer to all children and not dependent on their parents’ attachment to the labour market has meant an increase in demand. It has become more of a cultural norm that children from one or two years of age are attending a public facility (Jensen and Hansen, 2002b; emphasis added). By contrast, during the same postwar period both Hungary and Spain have experienced major political changes that have impacted on their services. Hungary, under the post-war 18
  22. 22. state socialist system, experienced a growth in services for children under and over 3, led by central government, intended to support parental employment. But nurseries, for children under 3, have had a difficult time recently. Places fell back in the 1980s, as government sought to boost fertility rates and developed an extensive maternity/parental leave period mainly aimed at women. The transition period from the socialist system, since 1990, brought further falls in nursery provision. There was even a period in the early 1990s when state funding was withdrawn on the basis that nurseries were no longer needed. Although this has now been reversed, and the need for nurseries is acknowledged by local and central government, the number of places has fallen by nearly 60 per cent since 1984. By contrast, levels of kindergarten provision (for 3 to 6 year olds) have been largely maintained: their social and educational importance has not been questioned. Transition from the socialist regime also brought about a change in the role of different levels of government in service provision. We discuss this further below, but in brief it involved a decentralization of responsibility for services from national to local government. While the recent history of services in Hungary and Denmark did not change the basic shape of the system, with all services within welfare in Denmark, and services split between welfare and education in Hungary, recent Spanish history has witnessed a struggle to alter the basic system. In Spain, the Civil War and its aftermath halted important educational developments, especially in Catalonia, developments that had reached their peak during the Second Republic (1931-39). These developments included services for young children, with the ‘escola bressol’ (cradle school) emerging in the 1930s as a pioneering approach to providing educationally-oriented centres for young children. Interest in this model – of centres for young children understood as ‘infants school’ – re- emerged in the 1960s, the last years of the Franco regime as well as a time when economic change was further stimulating demand for services. This period saw the emergence of an education reform movement, led by parents and practitioners, which contributed to a major reform of the Spanish Education system in 1990 expressed in a new general education law (Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo – LOGSE). This reform identified 0 to 6 years as the first stage of the education system and brought responsibility for all services for this age group within the education system: this radical shift transformed the concept of early childhood centres into educational services for children. Most recently, in 2003, a new law (Ley de Calidad de la Enseñanza – LOCE) has reversed some of these reforms, including the possibility of removing children under 3 years out of the education system again. From this recent historical perspective, therefore, Denmark shows a braod continuity from the 1960s; the Hungarian system has fluctuated in some respects but maintained continuity in other respects; while Spain, after the discontinuity of the Franco regime, has attempted a major change which now threatens to be unraveled. 2.2 Economic and political influences Table 4 summarises some key demographic and economic indicators for our three countries. Spain is by far the most populous country, with four times as many people as 19
  23. 23. Hungary and nearly eight times as many people as Denmark. Denmark, however, stands out on other indicators. It has a substantially higher fertility rate and female employment rate than either Hungary or Spain: women both work more and have more children. Employed Danish women are more likely to work part-time (defined as usually working less than 30 hours a week) than their Spanish counterparts: in Hungary, there are very few women employed part time. Unemployment rates in Denmark (as well as Hungary) are much lower than in Spain. Based on per capita GDP, Denmark is more than twice as wealthy as Hungary and a third wealthier than Spain. This is combined with Denmark having a far higher tax take than either Hungary or Spain, providing higher public funding for services. Table 4 : Key demographic and economic indicators for the three case study countries, 2000 Indicators Denmark Hungary Spain Population 5,340,000 10,024,000 39,466,000 Total fertility rate 1.8 1.3 1.2 Per capita GDP (using current PPPs1)(2001) US$29,900 US$13,200 US$21,000 Female labour force participation 76% 53% 51% Employed women working part time 24% 5% 17% Unemployment rate Men 4% 7% 10% Women 5% 6% 20% Tax receipts as % of GDP(1999) 50% 39% 35% Source: OECD, 2002 This difference in tax reflects Denmark having a welfare regime variously described as Scandinavian, Nordic or social democratic, but characterized by certain features: the extensive scope of public policy; an emphasis on full employment and active labour market policies; a high degree of universalism; high benefit levels with an earnings- related component; relatively generous transfers and extensive services; and a high share of social expenditure in GNP. Esping-Andersen (1999) summarises the social democratic welfare state as committed, besides universalism to comprehensive risk coverage, generous benefit levels and egalitarianism….The social democratic regime is distinct also for its active and, in a sense, explicit effort to decommodify welfare, to minimize or altogether abolish market dependency…(What) is uniquely social democratic is, firstly, the 1 Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) are the rate of currency conversion which eliminates the differences in price levels between countries. They are used to compare the volume of GDP in different countries. PPPs are obtained by evaluating the costs of between countriesa basket of goods and services 20
  24. 24. fusion of universalism with generosity and, secondly, its comprehensive socialization of risks (Esping-Andersen, 1999: 78-9: emphasis added). If the Nordic welfare regimes have been distinguished not only by generous benefit levels but also be strong expansion of services, the Mediterranean countries, including Spain, have tended to be at the opposite extreme when it comes to service provision, with a strong reliance on family care linked (in the case of Spain, Italy and Greece) to low levels of female employment. Hungary, under state socialism, had a welfare regime that initially supported parental employment through the provision of services for children, but where support for this provision for very young children (i.e. under 3 years) has recently waned first in the face of new policy priorities (fertility placed above employment), then due to financial constraints. In recent years, all three countries have shared a movement of political devolution, from central government to more local levels of government. Over the last 25 years or so, Nordic countries have experienced a strong decentralization movement to local authorities, which are now primarily responsible for the services covered in this case study. In Denmark, this process of transferring responsibility for services for young children occurred in 1976, leaving local authorities fully responsible for these services. This means, for example, that Denmark has no national standards for services for young children nor any national curriculum guiding the work in these services. While the Serviceloven (Social Services Act) defines overall objectives, underlining the multifunc- tional purpose of services (to be “pedagogical, social and caring”), each local authority defines more specific objectives and many of the organizational conditions (e.g. staffing) of the services. This decentralised model is based on the wish to strengthen local involvement, and thereby the development of a diverse and flexible system of care services, adapted to local conditions and requirements. The municipalization of the welfare state is strong in Denmark. Local authorities have their own child policies as well as organizational standards to improve the quality of services for young children. Services for young children represent society’s provision of a space for development in a wider sense, which is characterised by heterogeneity, flexibility and diversity: these qualities are a consequence of there being no centralised direction of the content of these services. Freedom is an obvious value among informants: none expressed a wish for centralised control measures or any form of prescribed learning or development plans, although the trade union president suggested that national recommendations are likely to strengthen the area. In Hungary, during the socialist regime, responsibility for services was almost entirely with national government, in a very centralized system. But since the political changes in 1990, the role of national government has much reduced and many of its previous responsibilities, including for services, have been delegated to local governments. Currently, the major role of national government is to provide the legal, regulatory framework, to secure earmarked funding for care services, to ensure the necessary education for staff working with children, youth and adults, and to introduce the framework for supervision and quality assurance. There are, for example, national 21
  25. 25. frameworks for nurseries and kindergartens, which set out broad guidelines for the work in both types of institution. But these institutions are left with considerable discretion in developing their own curriculum and can adopt any educational philosophies (e.g. Montessori, Freinet). Each place should develop its own local programme, tailored to the local population and its perceived needs. However, unlike Denmark, this post-1990 process of decentralisation has often been associated with the contraction of services as local authorities, especially smaller ones, have struggled to maintain former levels of provision. In Spain, the most important decentralization has been to 17 regional governments or Comunidades Autónomas (Autonomous Communities), which now have responsibility for a wide range of services, including education and care. Most of the laws and policies in these areas are made by these regional bodies, which has contributed to high levels of regional variation. Main budgetary decisions, however, continue to be decided by central government; especially at local government level, there is very limited financial autonomy. As in Hungary, there is a national curriculum framework (Diseño Curricular Base: Educación Infantil) that is subject to more local implementation, centres for example being expected to produce their own educational plans. Overall, therefore, decentralization has proved compatible with uniformly high levels of service provision in Denmark, but with increased local or regional variations in Hungary and Spain. Local autonomy may, however, show itself in some other ways in Denmark. One area of policy that has remained national in all three countries concerns leave entitlements for working parents. This has a direct bearing on services since leave policies that are well used by parents can reduce the demand for services for very young children. Here there are very striking differences. Hungary and Spain both offer leave until a child is 3 years old. But whereas leave in Spain is unpaid (except for 16 weeks of maternity leave), and therefore probably little used after maternity leave ends (in only 2-3 per cent of births), the whole period of leave is paid in Hungary (at 70 per cent of earnings for two years then at a flat rate for the remaining year for those who were employed before giving birth or at a flat rate for three years for those not employed before giving birth). The extended paid leave policy in Hungary has contributed to a fall in the numbers of children under 3 years in nursery. Leave policy in Denmark has had a more variable history, with several substantial changes in recent years. For example, in 2002 there was a change so parents in total have one year with state benefits or full pay (if covered by a collective agreement which guarantees full earnings while on leave) and a further 14 weeks without benefits. Leave therefore may reduce demand for services for children under 12 months, but not for older children. 22
  26. 26. 2.3 Services: structures 2.3.1 Government responsibility We have already looked at one dimension of government responsibility for services for young children: the distribution of responsibilities between national, regional and local government. Another dimension is within which policy area responsibility for services is located. Here our three countries cover a wide spectrum. Responsibility in Denmark, like other Nordic countries except (since 1996) Sweden, is located in the welfare system. Services for young children come within the remit of the Danish Ministry for Social Affairs. They are covered by welfare legislation – the Serviceloven (Social Services Act). As in other Nordic countries, the Ministry and social welfare system are not just for vulnerable children: they have a universal remit in areas such as services for young children. The senior policy maker from the Ministry for Social Affairs responsible for services for young children says that “what is really good about it [these services being located within the Ministry for Social Affairs] is that we view the general area (services for all children), in relation with the special area that provides support for specific needs. This department is responsible for both areas. I think it is very important and in this way we stress that the institutions [for young children] are not preparing you for school. They are preparation for life.” The trade union official, however, “had mixed feelings about this issue. We have occasionally been inclined to push the trend forward, the trend we have seen in other countries where the Ministry for Education covers [services for young children] because that involves a slightly higher status.” There are different opinions about the best way of structuring responsibility for services at municipal level, with some diversity in departmental organisation. This can be seen in the two local authorities involved in this study. One municipality combined services for young children and family policy in one department; while the other combined responsibility for these services, schools and other provisions for children and young people. At the other extreme, Spain (like England, Scotland and Sweden) in 1990 located the main responsibility for services for children from birth to 6 years in the education system. However, the intention of the 1990 reforms, that all private centres for children under 3 years should be regulated by educational authorities, has never been fully realised, the introduction of this measure being postponed on several occasions: there is no information on the number of centres falling outside educational regulation. Reformers had also hoped that all staff working in centres for children under and over 3 years would be teachers, but instead teacher presence in services for children under 3 years was limited, most staff being less qualified ‘technicians in early childhood education’ (técnicas en educación infantil). In this, and other respects discussed below, the integration of all services for children under 6 years within an educational framework has been only partially implemented. 23
  27. 27. And now, as noted already, recent legislative changes have led to children under 3 being removed from education at least at national level, reproducing a split responsibility for services for young children as existed before 1990. This means, for example, that the term educación infantil, applied under the previous law to all services for children from birth to 6 years, is now applied (under the new law) only to services for children aged 3 to 6. It also means that services for children under 3 are removed from national regulatory standards, for example the requirement that these services include teachers in the staffing. However, as a consequence of decentralization, some regional government will retain these services within an educational framework and regulate them accordingly. There has always been split responsibility for services in Hungary. Bölcsőde (centres for children under 3 years) are, and have been for many years, in the welfare system, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, Social and Family Affairs. Óvoda (kindergartens for children between 3 and 6/7 years) remain in education, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. However before recent legislation in1997), there was discussion about whether bölcsőde would be better placed within education to create a more integrated system. 2.3.2 Types of service In all three countries, services for young children in effect cover children up to the age of 6 years. Compulsory schooling begins at this age in Hungary and Spain, though in Hungary attendance is compulsory for 5 year-olds at pre-school kindergartens as preparation for school. In Denmark, compulsory school age is 7 years, but nearly all 6 year olds attend part-time kindergarten classes (børnehaveklasse) situated in schools, as well as school-based free-time services. There are three main types of centre-based services for young children in Denmark. Two are ‘age segregated’: vuggestuer (nurseries for children under 3 years) and børnehaver (kindergartens for children aged 3 to 6 years). The main growth in recent years, however, has been in aldersintegrerede, age-integrated centres taking the full age range up to 6 years and sometimes older (as school-age childcare). In 2002, these age-integrated centers accounted for just over a third of young children in publicly-funded services (35 per cent), compared to 37 per cent in børnehaver and just 6 per cent in vuggestuer: in other Nordic countries, age-integrated centers are the norm. This leaves a fifth of children (22 per cent), mostly under 3 years of age, in ‘organised’ family day care (kommunale dagpleje), where family day carers (dagplejere) are recruited, employed and paid by municipalities (Danmarks Statistik, 2003). The two nurseries where we interviewed practitioners were typical of this form of provision in having places for between 30 and 40 children. The two kindergartens and two age-integrated institutions were more variable in size, ranging from 32 to 70 places; nationally these institutions usually have between 40 and 80 places. Hungary has had a very simplified system of services: bölcsőde (nurseries) for children under the age of 3 years, and óvoda (kindergartens) for children between the ages of 3 24
  28. 28. and 6 or 7. Both, like the services in Denmark, offer full-time care. Although nurseries and kindergartens have traditionally been independent, operating apart from any other type of institution, since the 1990s there have been some mergers, mainly to cut costs. For example, some kindergartens in rural areas have been merged with primary schools, the head of the school also becoming the head of the kindergarten. There have even been cases where nurseries, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools have been brought together. Unlike Denmark, however, there are few children in family day care (családi napközi), which is a new service since 1990, with regulations introduced in 1993. One reason put forward for the slow development of this new service is that it has received little state funding, parents having to pay most of the cost: since 2003, the state has begun to provide a subsidy for children going to family day care, but at a lower rate than for nurseries and kindergartens. The size of nurseries and kindergartens varies. The biggest have places for 120 children, while the smallest only have 20 places. On average, though, they provide around 60 places Most services in Spain are structured similarly to Hungary, mostly on an age-segregated basis. Most children under 3 years attend nurseries for children from 4 months to 3 years (escuelas infatiles, primer ciclo 0-3 or guarderias) and most children over 3 years are in nursery classes (escuelas infatiles, segundo ciclo 3-6 or parvulario). These classes are usually located in primary schools, which distinguishes provision in Spain for children over 3 years from that in Denmark and Hungary, where services for this age group are never located with primary schools. There are, however, some ‘age-integrated’ centres in Spain, though far fewer than in Denmark. Family day-care is thought to be very uncommon and is not regulated. Paid care at the child’s own home is rather more common for families who can afford it, carers (who are often young female students) often referred to as canguros (kangaroos). Spanish centres for children under 3 years are mainly open on a full-day basis. But school-based provision for children over 3 years is mainly offered between 09.00 and 12.00 and 15.00 to 17.00 during term-time only. However, most of these schools now offer meals and care outside school hours, as a separate but complementary service, often through parent associations. 2.3.3 Providers of services Services in Denmark are nearly all publicly-funded and most are provided by local authorities, although a substantial minority (about a third) are provided by independent (mainly non profit) organizations. In Hungary, nearly all services are publicly provided, although today local authorities may also provide services in partnership with, or contract out provision to, a private organization. In Spain, a majority of provision for children under 3 years is privately provided, often by for-profit organizations. Publicly-managed services, in the minority, may be provided by local or regional governments. Provision 25
  29. 29. for 3 to 6 year olds is mainly publicly provided through the school system, though with a substantial minority of provision in private schools. 2.3.4 Levels of provision In principle, all young children in Denmark should have equal access to a place in a service, with the local authority responsible for ensuring need is met – and for determining how many places are needed to meet the need. Since 1997, it has been national government policy that every child should be guaranteed a place, if their parents want one. In practice, an entitlement to a place is nearly achieved, with nearly all local authorities now offering a guaranteed place. In Hungary, since 1993 legislation also requires local authorities to provide childcare for those children and families who need it. But in practice only slightly more than 200 out of more than 3,000 local authorities can meet this obligation. Often parental leave is considered to be an adequate alternative to the provision of a service, regardless of how suitable this option is for families. The 1990 LOGSE establishes the right of all Spanish children under 6 years to education. But the commitment to guarantee a sufficient number of places to meet demand has been implemented in different ways in different areas, and has not been interpreted as meaning a public responsibility to ensure funding. Overall, there is a policy commitment to provide education for all 3 to 6 year olds, but no similar public commitment to provide services for children under 3 years. As Table 5 shows, all three countries provide publicly-funded services for over 90 per cent of children between 3 and 6 years old – in Denmark and Hungary in full-day centres, in Spain in schools with shorter hours. Provision therefore is nearly universal. However levels of provision for children under 3 years vary much more, with over half of this age group using publicly-funded services in Denmark, but less than 10% provided for in Hungary and Spain. These figures for children under 3 years should also be interpreted in relation to leave provision. Many children under 3 years in Hungary are cared for at home by their mothers, and most children in centres are aged between 2 and 3 years. While in Denmark a large proportion of children under 12 months of age will be at home (86 per cent in 2002), so that the proportion of children over 12 months in a publicly-funded service is likely to be above 70 per cent (for a fuller discussion of leave policies in these three countries and the other three partner countries in the project, see Escobedo, Fernandez, Moreno and Moss, 2002). 26
  30. 30. Table 5: levels of provision in publicly-funded services Proportion of age group attending (a) Denmark (2002) Hungary (2000) Spain (2003) Services for children under 3 years 58% 8% 11% Services for children aged 3 to 6 years 94% 92% 95%+ . (a) Figures for Denmark include publicly-funded family day care; such provision is not included in Hungary or Spain, but is very low or non-existent. For Spain, the figure for children under 3 years is for all centres regulated by education authorities, and whether or not they receive some public funding: the proportion that are publicly funded will be substantially lower. Low levels of provision for children under 3 years in Hungary and Spain are also associated with considerable local variations. In Hungary, provision is higher in larger local authorities. In Spain, variations partly reflect substantial regional variations in maternal employment, but also the political commitment of regional and local authorities to supporting services. Thus Catalonia has centres regulated by education authorities for about a quarter of children under 3 years, compared to about 1 per cent in Extremadura. Where local authorities are active in supporting services, then these are usually of a high standard: however, only a small proportion of authorities provide such support. 2.3.5 Funding for services All services in Denmark receive high levels of public funding from local municipalities, leaving parents to cover the remaining costs. There is a national regulation that parents should not pay more than 30 per cent of costs (33 per cent if the local municipality provides a guarantee of places), with reductions for low income families and where more than one child in a family attends. Overall parents actually pay a quarter of total costs, local authorities the rest. There are some variants on this mainstream funding. The puljeordninger (pool scheme), introduced in 1990, provides a group of parents (or others) with funding to establish their own service, either a centre or some home-based form of service. More recently, a free choice scheme enables a local authority to offer parents a choice between a place in a service funded by the authority or a cash benefit with which to make their own arrangement. However the latter scheme is only available to local authorities which can guarantee a publicly-funded place, and it is up to the authority to decide whether to offer this option. Neither scheme, so far, has been widely used. In Hungary, both nurseries and kindergartens are financed from three sources: earmarked funding from central government (about 25 – 30 per cent of total costs), users’ fees (about 10 per cent) and local authority funding (the remainder). In fact, the users’ fee is only to pay for the cost of the meals children receive and cannot exceed a stated 27
  31. 31. proportion of parents’ monthly income. Low income families pay a reduced fee or none at all, and, as a recent initiative, some centres are now offering free meals to all children. The costs of services for children under 3 years in Spain vary widely, depending for example on hours of opening, numbers of staff employed and their level of training and pay: for example, the variation may be from €2800 a year for some private nurseries up to €7257 a year in the public nurseries in Barcelona. These services are entirely dependent on parents’ fees, except for those private centres which receive some public subsidy (usually covering less than half the costs) or centres provided by a regional or local authority (public nurseries in Barcelona, for example, charge parents just over a third of the costs). The situation is different in services for children between 3 and 6 years, which are mainly school-based. Parents pay no fees in schools provided by public authorities, but they must pay for any services provided outside school hours. Although these account for most provision, a substantial minority of parents (about a third) use private schools and pay most of the costs. This situation, however, will change with the implementation of the LOCE, which envisages increased public subsidies for private provision for children over 3 years. 2.3.6 The workforce Each of the three countries has two main occupations employed in centre-based services for young children. However, the way these occupations are deployed across services for children under and over 3 years differs in important respects, as does the type of occupation. In Denmark, the main occupation across all centre-based services for young children, both under and over 3 years, is the pædagog (pedagogue), accounting for a majority of the workforce. Prior to 1992, there were three different groups of pedagogue. The first group, dating back more than 100 years, were kindergarten pedagogues, working with 3 to 6 year-olds. The second group were pedagogues working in school-age childcare with children from 6 to 14 year-olds. While social pedagogues worked with children below the age of 3 years and with children and adults with special needs including those in residential institutions. Each group of pedagogues had their own initial education. Following reform in 1992, there is now one profession and one training, undertaken in 32 specialist institutions: Pædagog-Seminarium (pedagogue colleges). Pedagogues have a 3½ year basic education at a higher education level. In 2002, the training attained degree status, as did teacher and social work training, the three types of training having been at an equivalent level for a long time. Today, there are around 90,000 pedagogues in Denmark, who together make up three per cent of the total workforce. The pedagogue is a professional who works in many settings: they can, it is said in Denmark, work with people aged 0 to 100 years. Three-quarters work with children under 10 years of age in services for young children (nurseries for children under 3 years, kindergartens for 3 to 5 year olds and age-integrated centres for 28
  32. 32. children from 0 to 5 years or older), in classes for 6 year olds in schools and in school- based leisure-time facilities. But pedagogues also work with older children and young people (for example, in residential care homes), as well as with adults with disabilities, including some who work with elderly people (Jensen and Hansen, 2003). The other main group working directly with children in centre-based services for young children are pædagogmedhjælpere – pedagogue assistants. This occupation does not require any formal qualification, and many workers are young people spending a year or two working before going on to further study, including some gaining experience before training as pedagogues. However, since 1997, a 19 month basic training has been introduced aimed at a variety of workers, including pedagogue assistants. Some of these courses take place in specialist pedagogy colleges, others in Social and Health Care Schools. In Hungary, the two main occupations each work with a particular age groups of children, rather than across the whole pre-school age range. Gondozónő (infant and child caregiver) are the main workforce in nurseries for children under 3 years, supplemented by a small group (around 10 per cent) of unqualified workers. Unqualified workers must train while working, with the center funding the course. Óvónő (kindergarten pedagogues) make up 97 per cent of the kindergarten workforce. Another distinction between the occupations concerns their level of basic education. Nursery workers take a 3 year training at a secondary level in specialized vocational schools: although a new, higher form of training has become available from Autumn 2003, it is still not possible to study for work with children under 3 years at the tertiary level. Kindergarten pedagogues, by contrast, have a tertiary level training leading to a degree. While doing a tertiary level course used to be optional for work in kindergartens, since 1993 it has become compulsory. Moreover as part of a reform of higher education, the colleges that previously specialized in training pedagogues are now in the process of integrating with universities. The passing of the LOGSE in 1990 led to a restructuring of the workforce in Spain. There are now two main occupations with different levels of basic education: maestros especialista en educación infantil (teachers specializing in early childhood education) and técnicos especialista en educación infantil (technicians in early childhood education). Teachers take a university course, but at the lower level (primer ciclo de formación universitaria) lasting 3 years (in contrast to a high level course lasting 5 to 6 years, which is what a pedagogue or psychologist in Spain would take). Work with young children is one of seven teaching specialisms. Technicians take a 2 year technical training (formación professional de grado superior). Teachers work with children from birth to 6 years of age, while technicians only work with children from birth to three years old. Regulations require that, as a minimum, a third of staff working with children under 3 years must be teachers, and in some places the proportion is substantially higher. However the new law (LOCE), which introduces 29
  33. 33. the possibility of removing services for children under 3 from education, may also reduce the number of teachers working with children under 3. There are trade unions in each country to represent the workforce in services for young children. But the situation in Denmark is exceptional, both in terms of the extent of union – almost universal – and the leading role played by the pedagogues’ trade union (BUPL) not only in negotiating pay and conditions but also working to improve the status and public understanding of the work. BUPL, a senior official says in her interview, is working “to set the agenda as regards quality in daily life of children in institutions”. 2.4 Services: orientations We shall look in later chapters at how practitioners and others actually understand the work in services for young children. Here we shall concentrate on outlining the broad concepts that underpin policy and provision. Although within the welfare system in Denmark, the main concept underpinning policy and practice is not ‘care’, but ‘pedagogy’. Pedagogy is a theory and practice of work with people (whether children or adults) with roots leading back to 19th century Germany, and which can be found, in various forms, in most European countries. Pedagogy is a holistic concept that recognises the whole child (or adult) and the inseparability of care, education, health and upbringing: from this perspective, neither ‘care’ nor ‘education’ is viewed as a distinct field but as dimensions or elements of pedagogy. Another Danish national report for the first stage of this study describes pedagogy in these terms: Talking about upbringing/education, development, socialization and learning the words ‘pædagogik’ (pedagogy) and ‘pædagogisk arbejde’ (pedagogical work) are used more frequently (in Denmark). The word ‘pædagogik’ is etymologically based in the Greek word ‘paidagogike’ or ‘paideia’. The modern meaning is opdragelse og dannelse (education and cultural formation) which is a very essential Danish way of thinking. It is difficult to translate the concepts ‘opdragelse’ and ‘dannelse’ into English. The words are more easily translated into the German words ‘Erzieung’ and ‘Bildung’. In short: ‘Pædagogik’ (pedagogy) and ‘pædagogisk arbejde’ (pedagogical work) aim at improving learning and developing options on behalf of ideals of individuals and society. The pedagogical theories combine 1) ideals of a good life (philosophy) and 2) understandings of individuals and groups and their resources and needs (psychology and biology) and 3) understandings of social resources, values and demands (cultural and social sciences). Due to the fact that ‘pædagogik’ (pedagogy) and ‘pædagogisk arbejde’ are the key concepts for children it becomes problematic to translate the Danish dagtilbud til børn into the English term ‘childcare facilities’. The work carried out in ‘dagtilbud til børn’ is mainly described as pedagogical, social and caring (Jensen and Hansen, 2002a) 30

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