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ERIC Number: ED530922
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 118
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-9-2641-7356-9
Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: Finland
Taguma, Miho; Litjens, Ineke; Makowiecki, Kelly
OECD Publishing (NJ1)
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) has become a policy priority in many countries. A growing body of research recognises that it provides a wide range of benefits, including social and economic benefits, better child well-being and learning outcomes as a foundation for lifelong learning, more equitable outcomes and reduction of poverty, and increased intergenerational social mobility. But these positive benefits are directly related to the "quality" of ECEC. Definitions of quality differ across countries and across different stakeholder groups depending on beliefs, values, a country's (or region's) socio-economic context, and the needs of the community of users. While definitions should be interpreted with caution and sensitivity when comparing cross-country practices, the OECD has taken a two-tier approach to defining "quality" to proceed policy discussions. Therefore, this policy profile considers quality in terms of "structural quality" and "process quality", and sets out "child development or child outcomes" as quality targets. Based on international literature reviews findings, the OECD has identified five levers as key policies to encourage quality in ECEC: (1) Quality goals and minimum standards; (2) Curriculum and pedagogy; (3) Workforce qualifications, education and training, and working conditions; (4) Family and community engagement; and (5) Research, monitoring and evaluation. Of the five levers, Finland has selected "workforce qualifications, education and training, and working conditions" to be the theme of its policy profile. As reference countries in focus for international comparison, Finland has selected New Zealand and Sweden. This report consists of four chapters. The first chapter presents two spider webs that give an overview of: 1) policy outcomes over the lifecycle of a child, such as participation rates in ECEC, PISA performance scores and labour market outcomes; 2) policy inputs, which indicate what policies are in place that can influence ECEC and workforce development, such as working conditions (staff-child ratio), parental leave policies and public spending on ECEC. Chapter two aims to help you to brief political leaders, stakeholders and the media about the latest research and explain why workforce quality and working conditions matter for better child development. It includes an overview of research findings on why qualifications and training and development matter, what the effects of workforce-related aspects are on child development and the quality of ECEC provision, which aspects matter in workforce development and working conditions, policy implications from research, and knowledge gaps in current research. Chapter three provides an international comparative overview of where your country stands regarding the education and training of staff as well as working conditions. It identifies the strengths and areas for reflection for Finland in comparison with the selected reference countries. The chapter can provide an insight as to which aspects of workforce development Finland might consider taking policy action on, and it can raise awareness about policy issues. Chapter four presents the challenges countries have faced in improving workforce development and working conditions and gives alternative approaches to overcome these challenges. This chapter provides a quick overview of what New Zealand and Sweden have done in tackling challenges in improving the quality of the workforce. Each chapter contains tables, figures, notes and references. (Contains 2 notes.)
OECD Publishing. 2, rue Andre Pascal, F-75775 Paris Cedex 16, France. Tel: +33-145-24-8200; Fax: +33-145-24-8500; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Identifiers - Location: Finland; New Zealand; Sweden
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment