There are many opportunities to reconsider while assessing the current American preschool system. Compared to the Swedish system, which is among the best in the world, a lot of improvements need to be done by policymakers regarding its coordination and integration, to make the system more effective. This paper research gives an insight into the role of stakeholders and what they must do in readiness for learning, to make early childhood education success in America, just like it has been in Sweden.
According to Geoffrey et al., Parents not only are caregivers but the first teachers of their children. Besides being their care coordinators, they act as the nurses, coaches, nutritionists and safety officers for these toddlers, who at best, need to embrace a well-developed culture of learning in early years, to help shape their future. There are many circumstances where parents have failed to meet the health, social and education services their children need, mostly due to financial constraints. Thus, the services they offer may not meet the individual needs of their young ones. In most cases, many parents have been unable to meet these needs independently, especially where families have a variety of needs.
There have been cases where children get the services of multiple caregivers, simply because their families are incapacitated, or may not offer enough. Many parents have been left distressed, confused. As a result, imaging the service providers as less effective. Alternatively, there is a need to offer these services in a larger and more integrated system. Service providers are therefore working round the clock in a more cohesive manner, to improve the early childhood education arena, an area commonly affected by financial constraints many caregivers face, while also taking care of issues resulting from the integration milestones in a broader way, even for the community where the services are based. (Geoffrey, et al., 2010).
According to research, a child's success and ultimate success with education depend on the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development and wellbeing, and all these dimensions of preparations for learning are interrelated (Morris et al., 2007). Accordingly, a child experiencing physical pain is unable to learn, and when such conditions continuously manifest themselves, the social and cognitive development gets impaired. Similarly, a child whose parents suffer mental disabilities is likely to be slower in development for school readiness, increasing their chances of falling further behind in future learning activities. To achieve the best results in various dimensions, service providers must emphasize an aligned and well-coordinated response.
The important emphasis laid on the early childhood systems by state agencies in cooperation with local community support has achieved a better service delivery to improve the education sector for young children by reducing gaps associated with the supportive services. Parents in the United States need to take advantage of these services by the Early childhood systems Workgroup, to focus on a systematic development approach that aids the success of many children in learning. In my view, once this is achieved, a new model for early childhood education can effectively be implemented.
In the United States, people are more worried about a child having a nap outside an eatery even with the watch of parents. In Scandinavia however, many children independently play and sleep outside restaurants, without much worries from onlookers. Many school-going children spend time outside, and people believe it is of health benefits. Ideally, parents feel secure in a society that values children and provides them with an opportunity to freely explore the world with assurances of safety from the environment they operate. The kind of independence Swedish parents teach their children from an early age, serves them with an advantage over American children in terms of accessing learning programs. Whereas a normal American child starts preschool at the age of three or four, parents in Sweden already have their children in school at this age, with a few years of experience. This explains that the system of education in Sweden serves a better cognitive development strategy than with the case in America.
Adopting the Swedish curriculum would mean that preschools would be governed by municipalities, hence would receive the full support of the state. In the program, children from ages one to five would enjoy free as per the law. The curriculum, flexible as it is, offers an open play structured environment, from where young children learn and develop themselves into cognitive and social beings. Additionally, when they play in an open atmosphere, their interaction with other children improves communication skills and understanding for each other. The need to adopt the Swedish curriculum lies on the fact that it does teach on basic values that cannot be provided academically. Such values include solidarity, gender equality, and tolerance. Swedish children do not undergo formal testing until when they reach grade three. However, they have inspectors whose work entails visiting the preschools, where staff keep clear records of notes and photos of their development. This design of curriculum relatively allows the school is going boys and girls to develop psychologically and be able to respond to tests when they are grown enough and have explored their diverse potential.
The curriculum design of the Swedish system of learning imperatively serves the advantage of working families. Alen ( 2003) asserts that From an early age of one, the government of Sweden offers free day care services from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm. If borrowed into the American early childhood education curriculum, many parents would find alternative means of balance between childcare and daily work.
There is a need to borrow from the Swedish early childhood education program because of various reasons. Sweden offers highly ranked and quality early childhood education and care. Moreover, it is a country where nationally, people believe in the beautiful value of children. Evidently, Sweden was one of the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and enforce it in the society (Fass, 2011). Education, therefore, fosters a culture of care and nurturing, which Americans should embrace.
Traditionally, society has socialized people to believe that certain gender stereotypes are associated with particular roles. The Swedish early education system provides a platform to borrow from as it teaches more about different gender and roles, which gives children an opportunity to have the same opportunities in life, regardless of their gender. Working against gender stereotypes help in deliberating children from societal expectations and demands traditionally laid on them. Notably,5% represents the number of men working as caregivers in children daycare in Sweden, a significantly higher figure than in other parts of the world.
In Sweden, there is the maximum -fee policy which has made childcare accessible to everyone. The income a family earns determines the fee paid for childcare. Low-income earners, in this case, do not pay for services, while the middle class or the affluent are charged accordingly. Parents need only to spend between one and three percent of family income on childcare, according to the number of children. American state agencies can borrow this friendly policy, to improve and make childcare affordable to everybody.
A comparison of the Swedish early childhood education system to those of other nations depicts a difference that many countries can learn from. By virtue that children play outdoors at every opportunity, they develop social skills of tolerance, gender equality, care and consideration towards each other as well as properly developed communication skills. Additionally, its cost-effectiveness and the gender balance it aims at creating makes the system an ideal learning design to learn from. Sweden's early education system having been ranked as one of the best worldwide, makes it a desirable benchmark or a system to borrow from by countries of the world.
Even though they may be well integrated, public programs may fail to achieve a healthy development of young children by taking measures without involving their families, and the community in general. Services must be centered around families, and not where the systems dictate them to be. In a study involving different families, parents appeared frustrated due to inconsistency in support services by providers, especially because of employee turnover and that what they needed most was not addressed by any of these systems.
Young children need continuous, consistent nurturing, supervision and protection to grow into well-developed individuals, with desirable social values in society. As such, agencies providing care services should be coordinated and integrated to achieve the much-needed consistency and continuity. In achieving its vision of 'ensuring families and communities capable of providing safe, secure and nurturing childhoods where children grow, play, learn and develop their full potential.'the Swedish early childhood education program has made childcare affordable and is committed to better service delivery to different families.
Early childhood education program in Sweden has greatly remained relevant, even in the international arena, due to the exemplary performance based on its mission which states, 'To advance knowledge of the development of young children and to use this knowledge in building capabilities and transforming lives through the provision of integrated early childhood development.'Moreover,its worldwide recognition as one of the best programs for young children in the society matches its philosophy statement which states, 'A high-quality early childhood program that provides a safe and nurturing environment, which promotes physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive development will ensure a positive continuation of the child's education process'(Morris et al., 2007).
Implementing purposeful change borrowed from other sources requires integration and coordination effectively calculated to bring a positive result. In this paper, before meaningful change is realized in the American preschool system, there is a need to address the preexisting gaps in readiness for learning, that if unresolved, would lead to poor coordination and integration of services.
Allen, S. F. (2003). Working parents with young children: crossnational comparisons of policies and programmes in three countries. International Journal of Social Welfare, 12(4), 261-273.
Fass, P. S. (2011). A historical context for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 633(1), 17-29.
Geoffroy, M. C., Cote, S. M., Giguere, C. E., Dionne, G., Zelazo, P. D., Tremblay, R. E., ... & Seguin, J. R. (2010). Closing the gap in academic readiness and achievement: the role of early childcare. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(12), 1359-1367.
Melhuish, E., & Petrogiannis, K. (Eds.). (2006). Early Childhood Care & Education: International Perspectives. Routledge.
Morris, A. S., Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., Myers, S. S., & Robinson, L. R. (2007). The role of the family context in the development of emotion regulation. Social development, 16(2), 361-388.
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