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We live in an age of policy ‘borrowing’, where policy solutions developed in one context are shared and applied – often uncritically – in other settings.


In this assignment you are to analyse one of the following policy issues in Education  to make recommendations to another country. The policy issues you may consider are: 

  • Policy implementation in schools   
  • Equity in higher education
  • Curriculum implementation 
  • Policy and ethical considerations 
  • Teacher Quality 

Choose any topic from the following list.

.Equity in higher education

.National testing program and policies

.Policies for diverse learners: disability, or gifted and talented, indigenous students, students with behavioural difficulties

.Policies designed to guide school vocational education and adult technical and vocational education

.Early childhood education

.Inequality in education

About the policy implementation concerns regarding early childhood education in schools

The objective of this paper is to provide an overview on the early childhood education. This report also analyzes on the policy implementation in schools regarding early childhood education for making recommendations to Australia. Early childhood education relates to education theory branch that relates to teaching of children formally and informally (Elango, García, Heckman & Hojman, 2015). The NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) states that the early childhood education is necessary before the age of eight years as the child moves through rapid phase of development and growth.  The foundations mainly for their social skills, moral outlook and perception of world are established over the years and also cognitive skills have been developed. The education of early childhood is encouraged for healthy development as well as nurturing of vital foundations and trends reflect that the parents are progressively identifying this for betterment of their children. Early childhood education mainly consists of several number of activities as well as experiences that are designed to facilitate in cognitive as well as social development of the preschoolers before their entry to elementary schools (Gordon & Browne, 2013). Education provided to the early childhood varies from one state to another. The preschool education programs is designed specifically for children aged between three to five years and this might be given to childcare and nursery settings and conventional preschool.  These programs are sometimes opened in centre-based, public school settings, home- based and might be provided part – day, full- day or even the year round schedule.

Early childhood educators play vital role in the child’s development. They inspires minds of children, expose them to learnings and provide them foundation for the lifelong success (Moss, Dahlberg & Pence, 2013). The educational programs for early childhood usually differ in form of sponsorship as well as funding and might be operated by local school system or through federally funded program. One of the concerns of the present early childhood educational programs is to assure that these programs are of high quality. The National Education Association identifies high-quality childhood program that involves five vital components-

  1. Providing well- rounded curriculum which supports various development areas
  2. Addressing the child health, family requirements as part of inclusive service network
  3. Employs well- educated paid teachers
  4. Assesses children for enhancing student learning as well as identifying concerns
  5. Provides low child- teacher ratios.

The education of early childhood is mainly targeted at making child development, creating positive as well as well- balanced self- image and also developing intellectual abilities. Moreover, enrolling child in school makes them adapt with the new surroundings as well as contribute to the overall development (Bredekamp, 2014).

The National Inquiry into Remote and Rural Education has noted that in several areas of remote Australia, there is no accessibility to the preschool education. In addition to this, there are less number of remote Aboriginal societies where there is no accessibility to school. For this reasons, the school service providers face problems in implementing policies regarding early childhood education in schools.  There are numerous number of present policy concerns facing provision of early childhood education in Australia. These involve effectiveness as well as appropriateness of the quality assurance systems, affect of huge development range in field on early childhood education settings for improving quality level and total number of children who do not presently benefit from total investment in the early childhood education. Moreover, accessibility to the proper services for the children with extra needs remains huge concern of service providers and the Australian government. The affect of funding changes as well as privatization in education care sector has been another concern of policy implementation in schools. Besides this, issues relating to recruitment, training development and retention of staffs have also emerged as another policy concerns. Pritchard (2013) has found out that, there has been rising focus upon need to improve child’s transition to the school and its transitions between early childhood education environment. Few researchers have found out that there are few factors that are responsible for poor adoption of early childhood educational programs in public schools of Australia. These factors involve- lack of certain qualified teachers, lack of officers supervision who are mainly responsible for this, ill- equipped classrooms, lack of proper curriculum for the pre- primary education.

Analysis of philosophical understandings of education

According to DeCicca and Smith (2013), the guidelines of policy implementation in schools is mainly recommended to the government for attaining the below given objectives-

  • To establish the pre- primary sections within the existing schools in Australia as well as motivate the community as well as private efforts in the provision of the pre- primary education.
  • To make various provisions in the teacher education programs mainly for specializations in the early childhood primary education
  • To assure few medium of instructions that is principally language of immediate community
  • To assure that the major teaching method at this level might be through playing and that curriculum of the teachers education is mainly concerned with for achieving this, regulating as well as controlling pre- primary education operation.
  • To monitor as well as set least standard for the early childhood centers in this nation
  • Assure participation of the government communities as well as association of teachers in running as well as maintenance of the early childhood education facilities.

The philosophy of education interprets different areas such as curriculum, method, teaching, learning and motivation. The main aim of philosophy of education is synthesized in multifaceted personality development. The educational philosophy is to develop the children personality. The personality development consists of- physical, moral, emotional, mental and social. The basic philosophical understanding of education holds that there is direct relation between education and schooling.  According to Loughran (2013), education involves both formal as well as informal learning, which takes place in schools. It is the life long procedure that starts before its formal beginning in schooling. Moss, Dahlberg & Pence (2013) argues that, schooling is only formal part of this education. Formal education signifies that education that is deliberately as well as consciously planned in bringing about particular influence in learner. Learning becomes effective when it includes positive  partnership with the teachers, parents, peers, school and other society members. For every child to attain full potential, schooling are mainly organized to involve individuals and small group teaching and learning (Duchesne & McMaugh, 2018). The curriculum of Australia sets out core knowledge, skills, capabilities vital for every children. It describes learning entitlement of children as foundation for their future growth, learning and active participation in this nation’s community. It becomes the foundation for higher quality teaching for meeting the requirements of Australian students. The main target of curriculum has been designed to enable children in becoming lifelong learners.

The philosophies that underpin development as well as adoption of the early childhood educational programs has been evident in several ways. For example, at the government level, this might be evident in policy statements from which the Australian government can establish direction of the relevant programs, portfolio areas where early childhood education programs fall, the way by which services are generally supported and  the objective for which regulatory as well as monitoring mechanisms are established. An examination of direction as well as development of early childhood education care in Australia reveals huge range of policy directions relating to its objective. Its provision as well as establishment might vary based on the government philosophy, kind of setting, jurisdiction and the community perception. Vinovskis (2015) states that, the delineation mainly lies between the preschools and the schools and remaining settings for the children under five years of age. Nevertheless, the preschools as well as schools of this nation are perceived to provide basic education to the children. Most of the regions in this nation aim for provision of the preschool education. Therefore, the policy directions as well as perceptions of the non- preschool settings catering to the children reveal multiplicity of objectives.

Maintenance as well as establishment of the child care program has been connected to education policy and economic policy. Provision of the out- of- home care has been mainly regarded as means of –

  • Supporting the families at risk
  • Giving respite for parents and children
  • Enabling parents for participating in paid laborforce in broader community

Specifically, with advent of endorsement in early childcare centers, the attention of government of this country has shifted to child care role to give opportunities for development of children, socialization and learning. The emerging concerns relating to literacy development, numeracy skills and desire for enhancing educational outcomes for the children have mainly focused on role of early childhood educational care settings. Thus, in several instances, focus on the children themselves is the subset of overarching policy relating to employment and particular educational outcomes. Thus, variety of concerns and fundamental principles underlies the policy approaches of the Australian government departments to early childhood education care (Tayler et al., 2013). However, these approaches is mainly highlighted in various service kinds, way by which funding is mainly targeted relating to parents and services, requirements of program staffing and program structure. Thus, the policy influences has been apparent in the dominant policy discourses.

Early childhood education is beneficial for the children under the eight years of age since it makes positive effect on the development of child future. The rapid development rate that occurs in social, intellectual and physical domains is specifically significant. Even though the progression mainly occurs in predictable directions, it is unique in every child that occurs at varying rates. for the children, these years specially mark first transition within the group experience outside the new physical environment. Several researches have found out positive outcome for children in early childhood programming. They found out that organizing preschool to the third grade services via partnerships with families as well as schools mainly creates strong learning environment to assure that gains of early childhood are sustained (Follari, 2015).  Few evidences also reflect that these educational program has improved the mental health of children and parental involvement in the school.

The experiences that mainly contribute to the children’s development as well as learning are termed by social as well as cultural contexts and its surrounding society. The children makes their engagement with the world in direct as well as interactive manner and also motivates active learning approach via which children experiences about the social as well as physical world surrounding them. Gestwicki (2013) cites that, flexibility of early educational program permit teachers to support interests of children, building up their confidence as well as self- esteem and respond to events in all areas. Moreover, some of the basic reasons behind early childhood education are described below-

Learning as well as development- Proper education to the early childhood helps to soak up learning peaks for the children up to the age of three years. The child has huge potential in learning things at this stage. While attending the early childhood education program, the child can improve language as well as motor skills.

Benefits of children health-Attending program of early childhood education benefits the child’s health. Near around 80-70% of the pre- school age children attends early childhood education program out of home. Several researchers have highlighted that being provided with high quality care in such programs positively affect the learning and development of child. Furthermore, the socio- emotional development of child has been less adversely selected with reduced chance of mental health care.

Economic benefits- According to Bers et al., (2014), children are not only ones who benefits from this early childhood educational programs. Such programs have huge economic benefits also. The researches have found out that children of low- income families receive intensive early education whereas their parents attain parenting skills as well as job training. The outcome reflect that such children went with the education, had higher income and also better insurance coverage than those children who did not attain early childhood education.  Moreover, these children have been less likely to be incarcerated for felony.

Significance of screenings- Another benefits of child in this nation attaining early childhood education is opportunity in participating to the early childhood screening. Moreover, such screening is mainly offered to child under 8 years of age and provide things such as cognitive development, vision, coordination, social and emotional skills (Lee et al., 2015). This also helps to recognize development or any kind of health issues that is required to be taken into account for preventing learning delays.

Promotes holistic development- Early childhood education leads to development of children. The environment in schools lays a foundation for child’s social, mental and physical development that are vital factors for every life stages. It helps the child to express ideas as well as feelings and also recognize weak areas of them.

Develops sharing and cooperation- Education provided to early childhood assures that child learns to share as well as cooperate belongings with others. The activities within these schools helps to build the child’s ability to respect opinion of mentors and develop their listening skills. Besides this, schools aid in teaching resilience to child through experiences. However, it teaches child basic education as well as instruct life skills through experiences. It develops self- esteem and mutual respect towards others (Entwistle, 2013).

Despite increasing significance of the early childhood education, there are several challenges which continued in pulling down its effectual implementation. These challenges are briefly discussed below-

Socio- economic factors-Ill- health as well as malnutrition are the examples of factors that are connected with socio- economic factors. Kremer, Brannen and Glennerster, (2013) has found out that these factors significantly damage cognitive processing ability of the children. In fact, the child whose processing capacity is mainly affected by malnutrition as well as ill- health might need several instructions for learning skills. However, adoption of early childhood education might prove to be critical mainly for the low-income nations. The researches have reflected that regional disparities among the nations have vital role in aiding accessibility to early childhood education in which enrollment levels within the rural areas are low as compared to those in urban areas. Thus, the children from marginalized rural communities within the nation many suffer from huge lack of accessibility to this early childhood education.

Inadequate teaching resources- Several centers of early childhood education lack proper teaching resources and the facilities appropriate for childhood education in learning environment. This signifies that teachers usually do not have proper teaching as well as learning resources for enabling them to integrate effectual early childhood education curriculum. This impacts adoption of early childhood education curriculum adversely since creation of supportable learning environment aids deprived children for improving their performance.

Financial constraints- The financial constraints might lead to ineffectual integration of early childhood education. It has been reported that the debt- servicing programs are responsible partly for considerable decline in the government funding for subsidizing education and other school relating expenses. As a result of which the families have to bear several responsibilities in adoption of the early childhood educational programs.

High child- teacher ratio with poor remunerations- Child- teacher ratio has been the main subject among researchers relating to factors facing learning as well as teaching procedure. The researches also highlight that the child- teacher ratio has continued to increase at high rate among the nations. The teachers are now- a- days not comfortable with rising number of children in the classes they handle. With higher ratios, the teachers of the early childhood education are remunerated poorly and under parents mercy. Some of the main factors that continued to impact effectual adoption of early childhood education in both developing and developed nations usually go beyond these factors. Moreover, gap also occurs in the policy framework and for addressing such challenges facing early childhood education, appropriate policies have to be adopted.

Insufficient training as well as opportunities for professional development- Even though there has been rise in total number of educational institutes giving pre- service training for the early childhood educators across the globe, several issues relating to teacher’s training still exists. Significant developmental differences among the children below three years necessitates professional training that takes into account age- linked variations in child’s educational requirement (Neville et al., 2013). In few nations, there are varied training curriculum program for the trainees who might work with older children. Moreover, in few nations there is no particular policy regarding curriculum requirements. On the contrary, educators providing childhood education attains similar training program. Therefore, those educators working with young children generally tend to achieve less training. Although in some developed nations the government has enhanced initial training for the early childhood educators, there are few nations where no measures have been taken for improving early childhood education.

Numerous factors affect the participation of children in the early childhood education program, which involve-

Locational factors- One of the key problems regarding provision of early childhood education for children is residing in remote locations. The children living in remote regions of a nation faces several difficulties in accessing early childhood educational program. As remoteness increases, the population density decreases and thus less number of services might be funded for meeting the requirement of families residing in these regions. On the other hand, if this early childhood educational program is given closer to residences, then it might decline potentiality for the children to experience such social aspects of early childhood education. Moreover, availability of qualified as well as experienced staffs is another issue for remote location service provision. However, turnover of such educators also diminish quality of education provided to these children (Davis & Elliott, 2014).

Socio- economic status of the families- Few evidences reflect that children from low socio- economic status continue to be misrepresented under early childhood education. This has been observed as the result of several factors involving- problems relating to costs, lack of service awareness and interference of factors that mainly coexists with such financial disadvantage.  Other barriers for such group involve – parents having less accessibility to transport and poor communication skills. Some families might choose to utilize services outside their area and thus expose their children in better way. Families residing in disadvantaged rewhgions are experiencing large financial hardship as well as joblessness, thereby having low extent of parental education. Besides this, the families with low parental employment and financial concerns might influence parents regarding their children’s early education. In addition to this, single parents along with their children faces adverse outcomes provided that child well- being indicators reflect poorer result in such families.

Indigenous status of the families- Several researches have highlighted that the children belonging to indigenous backgrounds have low participation level in early childhood education with respect to non- indigenous background. Sun, Rao and Pearson (2015) has found out that, educators face numerous issues while retaining indigenous children in early childhood education program. This has been evident from facts in few rural regions of Australia where there is higher rate of absentees for indigenous children as compared to non- indigenous children. Hewitt & Walter, (2014) have raised some other problems such as-

  1. Remoteness of areas where indigenous children are being featured by lower extent of preschool program.
  2. Educators working in such areas are not being effectively qualified and this have no long –term experience in the program
  3. Issues relating to funding impacting matters above
  4. Infrastructure of schools is another issue that creates problem relating to adequate space.

Children with disabilities or health care needs- Cortiella and Horowitz (2014) has pointed out that, participation in early childhood education can be difficult for those children having disabilities if parents have been seeking proper place in program that might attend special requirement of their children. Few researches have shown that children with disabilities face difficulties while accessing higher quality education. This specifically applies not only to search the program that each child might attend but also applies to child’s ability to participate in program. This specifically relates to availability of proper educators as well as their ability of educators to effectually engage with children. However, the preschools might provide huge opportunities for identifying particular requirements or heath care problems of a child prior to beginning school. Where the preschools are properly connected with other services, this might mean that children relate to health care. Thus, preschool experience as well as its connected early education programs might be one aspect  of accessing early childhood education.

The evidences highlighted below reflects the use of policy disclosure in context to early childhood education. These evidences are discussed below-

China has mainly exerted efforts at national as well as regional levels by adopting early childhood education in national development plan for improving accessibility as well as quality of the early childhood education in the rural areas. Recent evidences reflect that there has been expansion of the early childhood education and acre services owing to economic growth as well as rising recognition of its significance. Moreover, disparities between urban and rural regions in this nation regarding accessibility to services exists. The quality of education program is lower than that in urban areas and the vital contributing factor is huge shortage of teachers in the rural areas. Over the years, it has been hard to recruit skilled teachers in these rural regions of China owing to various reasons such as- low pay, early childhood educators status (Postiglione, 2013).

For improving this situation, the government of China has launched landmark policy which mandated universal preschool education in national development plan. The policymakers of this country improved remuneration of the educators. Adoption of this measure led to reduction of disparities between urban and rural areas. Besides this, the government of this nation also adopted several measures for attracting graduates and teachers to serve this early education. Luo, Tamis-LeMonda and Song (2013) found out that they offered professional training at various level for benefitting the teachers in these rural regions.

Despite putting emphasis on early childhood education, there still occurs a gap between the education provided to the children living in rural areas while that living in urban areas. In fact, the educators also avoid to provide education to the children residing within the rural regions. This in turn creates gap between these two regions relating to early childhood education.

The recommendations are provided to the international policy makers regarding implementation of the early childhood education programs. These includes-

Firstly, there is a requirement for the Education Ministries officials for enforcing regulations to be laid down by Federal Education Ministry in regards to provision of early childhood education.

Secondly, the policymakers of education should set up effectual quality monitoring and provide logistic support for ensuring that minimum standards must be maintained in public as well as private institutions.

Thirdly, the international policymakers must regulate the educator’s salary in providing early childhood education in order to motivate teachers as well as parents.

Fourthly, they should regularly supervise as well as monitor with penalties for the offenders for maintaining teacher- children ratio.

Fifthly, the policymakers should create opportunities for professional development that promote collaboration of teachers

If policy designs were integrated in other nations, the recommendations are provided to professional peers. These recommendations are given below-

Firstly, the educators should focus on the education curriculum integrated by the policymakers of that country. This is because policy documents might be problematic and thus proper guidance will help to achieve development goals.

Secondly, the professional peers must focus on the working environment of the educational institutions so that they can work with the teachers and colleagues in proper way.

Thirdly, professional teachers must participate in the induction and mentoring programs that is designed by the policymakers so that they provide quality education to the children.

Conclusion

The significance of early childhood foundation is where foundation is mainly laid. The government and service providers of various countries are integrating several measures for improving early childhood educational program. The ability in communicating successfully with the children is vital for the objective of imparting and gaining information and assisting children. The preschools providing education to the children influences their development and quality of interactions. However, promoting quality interactions in the preschools must be the basic concern for effectual intervention efforts. Moreover, early childhood educational programs mainly cater positive relationship among the educators, children and families. From the above discussion, it can be observed that there are several challenges, which confront contemporary early childhood education. By facing challenges as well as handling opportunities present in adopting early childhood education program, Australia might strengthen commitment with the children, educators and communities.

References

Bers, M. U., Flannery, L., Kazakoff, E. R., & Sullivan, A. (2014). Computational thinking and tinkering: Exploration of an early childhood robotics curriculum. Computers & Education, 72, 145-157.

Bredekamp, S. (2014). Effective practices in early childhood education: Building a foundation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Cortiella, C., & Horowitz, S. H. (2014). The state of learning disabilities: Facts, trends and emerging issues. New York: National center for learning disabilities, 2-45.

Davis, J., & Elliott, S. (Eds.). (2014). Research in early childhood education for sustainability: International perspectives and provocations. Routledge.

DeCicca, P., & Smith, J. (2013). The long-run impacts of early childhood education: Evidence from a failed policy experiment. Economics of Education Review, 36, 41-59.

Duchesne, S., & McMaugh, A. (2018). Educational psychology for learning and teaching. Cengage AU.

Elango, S., García, J. L., Heckman, J. J., & Hojman, A. (2015). Early childhood education (No. w21766). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Entwistle, N. J. (2013). Styles of learning and teaching: An integrated outline of educational psychology for students, teachers and lecturers. David Fulton Publishers.

Follari, L. (2015). Foundations and best practices in early childhood education: History, theories, and approaches to learning. Pearson Higher Education AU.

Gestwicki, C. (2013). Developmentally appropriate practice: Curriculum and development in early education. Cengage Learning.

Gordon, A. M., & Browne, K. W. (2013). Beginnings & beyond: Foundations in early childhood education. Cengage learning.

Hewitt, B., & Walter, M. (2014). Preschool participation among Indigenous children in Australia. Family Matters, (95), 41.

Kremer, M., Brannen, C., & Glennerster, R. (2013). The challenge of education and learning in the developing world. Science, 340(6130), 297-300.

Lee, F. L. M., Yeung, A. S., Tracey, D., & Barker, K. (2015). Inclusion of children with special needs in early childhood education: What teacher characteristics matter. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 35(2), 79-88.

Loughran, J. (2013). Developing a pedagogy of teacher education: Understanding teaching & learning about teaching. Routledge.

Luo, R., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., & Song, L. (2013). Chinese parents’ goals and practices in early childhood. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(4), 843-857.

Moss, P., Dahlberg, G., & Pence, A. (2013). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Languages of evaluation. Routledge.

Moss, P., Dahlberg, G., & Pence, A. (2013). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Languages of evaluation. Routledge

Neville, H. J., Stevens, C., Pakulak, E., Bell, T. A., Fanning, J., Klein, S., & Isbell, E. (2013). Family-based training program improves brain function, cognition, and behavior in lower socioeconomic status preschoolers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(29), 12138-12143.

Postiglione, G. A. (2013). China's national minority education: Culture, schooling, and development. Routledge.

Pritchard, A. (2013). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom. Routledge

Sutton, A. (2018). What Is the Importance of Early Childhood Education?. Retrieved from <https://www.livestrong.com/article/231407-what-is-the-meaning-of-early-childhood-education/> [online] [Accessed on 30th October 2018].

Tayler, C., Ishimine, K., Cloney, D., Cleveland, G., & Thorpe, K. (2013). The quality of early childhood education and care services in Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(2), 13.

Vinovskis, M. (2015). From A Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind: National education goals and the creation of federal education policy. Teachers College Press.

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