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ERIC Number: EJ820714
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-1357-5279
The Effect of Regulation on the Quality of Early Childhood Services in Ireland
O'Kane, Mary
Child Care in Practice, v11 n2 p231-251 Apr 2005
The first legislative control over early education services in Ireland came into place in 1996, in the form of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations (Department of Health, 1996). The research hypothesis of this study was that the implementation of the Regulations would have had an impact on quality of early childhood care and education (ECCE) services in Ireland. The specific objectives of the study were: to examine a sample of pre-schools to investigate both structural and process aspects of quality; to examine the possible relationship between these elements of quality; and to interview both Supervisors of these pre-schools and a small sample of Pre-school Officers to investigate their attitudes towards the Regulations. It was acknowledged at the outset that related factors, such as increased level of investment and improved levels of training, may have affected quality of provision. The baseline data used for the purposes of this study were gathered in 1994/1995 during Phase II of the IEA2 Preprimary Project (IEA/PPP). This was a large cross-national study that investigated the quality of care and education that children from various countries received at four years of age. Full details of the Irish aspect of Phase II can be found in "A Window on Early Education in Ireland: the First National Report of the IEA Preprimary Project" (Hayes, O'Flaherty, & Kernan, 1997). Use of these data allowed comparison of both structural and process elements in ECCE provision before the implementation of the Regulations, and six years after their implementation in 2002. The methodology of the present study involved revisiting a subsample of the original IEA/PPP national sample, undertaking structured observations and administering questionnaires to teachers and supervisors. A number of key issues emerged from the research. First, improvements were found in the quality of the pre-school provision in the present study as compared with that of the original study, although it is not clear the extent to which these improvements relate directly to the Regulations. The results also suggest that the need for training is becoming more widely accepted in the sector in Ireland. As predicted, increased awareness of training for ECCE professionals, and increased levels of funding appear also to have had an effect on quality. A third issue emerging from this study was the changing role of the pre-school teacher. The findings of this study also provided information regarding the nature of the relationship between regulation and quality provision. Related to this was the interaction between structural and process variables in quality ECCE provision. Full details of the study can be found in O'Kane (2004a). This paper concentrates on how the findings relate to two of the themes identified: interaction between structural and process aspects of quality, and training. (Contains 7 notes and 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland; United Kingdom