ERIC Number: ED318580
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Excellence in Early Childhood Education: Defining Characteristics and Next-Decade Strategies. Policy Perspectives Series.
Kagan, Sharon L.
Considering that the field of American early childhood education and care is at the brink of a major shift in how it views its mission, this paper provides policymakers with ways to help understand the emergent situation, to define excellence in early education and care, and to plan a strategy to improve provision of services. A glance toward the past indicates dimensions of the changing climate in the field, focusing on the history of fragmentation among programs with limited scope, antecedents of the perceptual shift regarding the field, and, briefly, the need for broad agreement on how to reorganize the delivery system. A first step toward developing a preliminary concensus proposes three elements of a definition of excellence in early education and care: (1) the production of high quality programming that takes into account research findings on and between behavioral and environmental variables; (2) the clarification of equality in the context of early childhood programs; and (3) the development of an integrated system to obtain efficiencies of operation and economies of scale. A second step, from fragmented delivery systems toward a system providing comprehensive, improved services, offers three strategies for change. Strategies contrast thinking in terms of a program model, particulars, and the short-term, with planning more systemically, universally, and for the long haul. Fifty-seven references are cited. (RH)
Descriptors: Day Care, Definitions, Early Childhood Education, Educational Change, Educational Development, Educational History, Educational Quality, Equal Education, Excellence in Education, Futures (of Society), Organizational Change, Social Change
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 (Stock No. 065-000-00415-1, $1.75).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.