Manual Family Day Care: International Perspectives on Policy, Practice and Quality

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Contemporary Perspectives in Early Childhood Education
Contents:
  1. A Nordic Perspective on Early Childhood Education and Care Policy
  2. ERIC Documents
  3. [Review of the book Family day care: International perspectives on policy, practice and quality]

PDF version. Introduction Growing recognition of the importance of child care has brought with it increased acknowledgement of the need for some form of government support. Subject Decades of comparative research have led to a general agreement on the basic requirements for a good system of non-parental child care and recognition that the establishment of such a system requires government support.

A Nordic Perspective on Early Childhood Education and Care Policy

Issues There is quite widespread agreement within the research community on the following core issues: The system should be accessible. No child should be excluded on the basis of income, parental employment status, place of residence, or formal citizenship.

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Yet in many systems, access is a problem as there are insufficient spaces and fees represent a barrier to quality child care for many families. The program should be high quality. Numerous studies have documented the importance of quality child care in the form of a healthy, safe, and stimulating physical environment; appropriate staff:child ratios; and a pedagogical program that recognizes the child as an actor in the here and now.

This requires public investment, not only to deal with affordability, but also to provide well-educated staff who will receive fair wages. The program should be comprehensive. While promoting universal accessibility, the system also needs to recognize the diversity of needs, including respect for the cultural and linguistic diversity of the population. This too requires government involvement. The achievement of these goals, in turn, depends on the establishment of an effective governance structure to meet the challenges of integration, coordination and local diversity Research Context Initial comparative research on child care policy was carried out under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation OECD in the s.

Research Results The early research conducted under the auspices of the OECD highlighted the need to integrate day care , a service originally provided for children whose mothers needed to work to sustain family incomes, and kindergarten , preschool education usually for children 3 to 6 years old, often on a part time basis and, in many countries, largely available to upper income families. Implications Comparative analysis of child care policies can help to identify best practices and some of the institutional and political impediments to their adoption.

References Yeates N. Global care chains: critical reflections and lines of inquiry. International Feminist Journal of Politics ;6 3 Directorate for Social Affairs. Manpower and Education. Heron A. An excellent example is A New Deal for Children? Re-forming education and care in England, Scotland and Sweden. Orloff AS. Gender and the social rights of citizenship: The comparative analysis of gender relations and welfare states. American Sociological Review ;58 3 Lewis J.

Gender and welfare regimes: Further thoughts. Social Politics ;4 2 Jenson J. Who cares? Gender and welfare regimes. Esping-Andersen G. Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies. In: Lewis J, ed. Children, Changing Families and Welfare States. Servants of globalization: Women, migrants and domestic work. Care crisis in the Philippines: children and transnational families in the new global economy. Global woman: nannies, maids, and sex workers in the new economy. Pyle J. Childcare center licensing regulations April : Child:staff ratios and maximum group size requirements.

New York, NY: Guilford. American Educational Research Journal, 43, — Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal year Phillips, D. Developmental Psychology, 23, — Raikes, H. Early Head Start: A dynamic new program for infants and toddlers and their families. Infant Mental Health Journal, 23, 1— Schulman, K. The high cost of childcare puts quality care out of reach for many families.

Common Health & Safety Concerns in Child Care

Washington, DC: www. Childcare arrangements: Spring Stipek, D. Good beginnings: What difference does the program make in preparing young children for school? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19, 41— Child Development, 66, — US Bureau of Labor Statistics Employee benefits in private industry, US General Accounting Office Early childhood programs: Multiple programs and overlapping target groups. Overview of entitlement programs: The green book. Washington, DC: Author.

Vandell, D. Early childcare: The known and the unknown. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50, — Whitebook, M. Who cares? Childcare teachers and the quality of care in America. Final report: National Childcare Staffing Study. However, the dramatic socio-economic changes since the early s and the sequential waves of urbanisation, particularly in Athens, have had a strong impact on family structure and traditional community life Gizelis et al. It is broadly documented that southern European families interact more frequently and have a substantially greater sense of inter-generational obligation than families in the rest of Europe Bozini-Antinach, Greece is a typical example since often grandparents move closer to their working children in order to contribute to the care of their grandchildren and minimise the financial strain experienced by new families Georgouli et al.

In this way, they form a type of extended family analogous to the traditional living conditions found in rural communities 40 years previously Georgas, However, social changes are making it more difficult for relatives to provide direct support to parents with young children and therefore increasing the need for day care. This increasing need has also been fuelled by a number of other social trends: lone-parent families mostly single mothers now account for approximately 5.

The increased availability, and economic and social benefits, of day care services have proved important incentives for young couples Sarikaki, However, the most significant social trend affecting a heightened demand for childcare provision is the increase in maternal employment. Demographic changes in Greece Greece, along with Spain, Italy and Malta, has one of the lowest female employment rates in the EU with only about Female unemployment rates in Greece 17 per cent for full-time work and 5 per cent for part-time employment are some of the highest in the EU.

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ERIC Documents

Nevertheless, within Greece, the employment rates for women have significantly increased since , and they will continue to increase as Greece competes with European levels of female participation in the workforce Eurostat, , 8 Sept. The rigidity of the market no part-time opportunities, no long-term maternity leave in combination with the absence of retraining programmes for women who have been, for an extended period, out of the labour force whilst rearing children, makes it difficult for mothers to return to work. In addition, the perceived role of the mother is in flux, oscillating between aspects of collectivism and individualism.

Current cultural pressures are moving Greek culture away from traditional forms of life that privilege the group over the individual and exhibit gender divisions between the public and private spheres, towards a more individualistic ideology. However, as more women with young children go out to work, the capacity for family childcare diminishes.

Employment rates for older women are also increasing with roughly 24 per cent of women aged 55—64 now in work Eurostat, , 12 April.

It can no longer be assumed that relatives will continue to provide childcare to the same extent as they do now. Consequently, as the childcare provided by relatives decreases, childcare services, both public and private, will need to increase. To summarise, demographic conditions, values and ideas have changed progressively over the last 20 years.

[Review of the book Family day care: International perspectives on policy, practice and quality]

The change from a collective to a more individualised lifestyle has meant new ideas, values, attitudes and needs have been developed. Young women are better educated and have started to compete with men in the labour market. An increasing demand for supplementary, non-familial, preschool childcare has developed because of these changes in lifestyle: the loosening of family ties, the distance between young parents and their family of origin, the increase in divorce and growing numbers of single-parent families, the diminished family size, the change in values, the intense urban migration Bagavos, and the progressive change in educational policy.

Supplementary day care services, whether formal or informal, part time or full time, are essential for the modern Greek mother. Early childcare and education in Greece 29 Early care and education services The variety of childcare arrangements in Greece is rather limited compared to other western European countries. Babysitting can be difficult and frustrating because it is temporary, changeable, expensive, and there are no officially approved or registered babysitters. Nurseries, kindergartens and preschools provide a more economic form of early childhood care and education and grow more popular every year.

According to the most recent estimations , children aged between five months and five years — representing more than the 20 per cent of the population of this particular age group — attend one of the 3, nurseries KEDKE-EETAA, ; Tsoulea and Kaitanidi, The history of early care and education in Greece starts in the s with the charitable formation of orphanages. Before early childhood care and education institutions went through five phases of development Papathanassiou, and by we were in a sixth phase following the transfer of the former state nurseries to local authorities.

There are four kinds of early childhood care and education institutions that can be loosely divided into two categories: very early childcare for children from as young as two months; and care and education for slightly older children.

Nursery care for children aged twoand-a-half upwards is provided by pedikos stathmos kindergartens , which cater for children up to compulsory school age; and preschools called Nipiagogeion, for children of four years old up to compulsory school age. All these types of early education and care must be officially approved and registered with the appropriate authority.

Nipiagogeion preschools operate under the Ministry of Education typically for three-and-a-half hours a day 9am to pm and are run by preschool teachers. They are the first optional level of the Greek education system, providing educational services based on the national curriculum.

Preschools follow the same schedule as primary schools and parents are responsible for catering for their children. Private sector preschools are also registered with the Ministry of Education. The two levels of stathmos vrephonipakos and pedikos , have mixed educational personnel — nursery teachers, nursery assistants, preschool 30 Konstantinos Petrogiannis teachers — and traditionally offer custodial care with some education services based on national curriculum for preschools for up to eight or nine hours a day, five days a week.

They are now officially under the supervision of local authorities and governed by the Ministry of the Interior. Nurseries that are not publicly funded must get official approval and be registered with the local authorities. To be given approval, nurseries must fulfil certain criteria, which are mainly focused on the structure and safety features of the nursery facilities and staff.

However, there has been no relevant Greek research to justify the criteria and standards of the laws concerning space and safety. Within nurseries, children are divided, in most cases, into mixed gender groups.