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Challenges and opportunities in integrating early childhood services – a spotlight on the workforce

The discussion around the integration of early childhood services is not new at all, but it became more heated in the recent years because of increasingly complex challenges that families with young children face in the current dynamic social, economic, cultural and political contexts they live. There are many experiences of both bottom-up and top-down initiatives for strengthening integration in various countries, but all indicate a series of barriers. And many related to a manner of thinking and working which pays tribute to a highly specialized and silo-ed approach. The barriers also point to a weak or ‘dysfunctional’ relationship between practice, research and policies, which should be meant to make services more responsive and efficient and to bring them closer to children and families, and to communities.  

What Lies at the Heart of Teacher Education? Boxes Within Boxes, Worlds Within Worlds, Seeing and Being Seen

As a teacher educator, I tell trainee teachers that their starting point should be each pupil – not the lesson plan, nor the books. Try and see the encounter in the classroom, I urge them, from the perspective of the individual pupil as you engage with her or him. How does the pupil experience this moment within education, in the here and now? What experiences and emotions has he or she brought from the world outside and what perceptions are uppermost in her or his mind today as the lesson proceeds?

All work and low pay: Why we need to pay more attention to the early childhood workforce

Lucía walks 30 minutes to the first home. When she arrives, she greets a mother and her son. She is a facilitator, or volunteer home visitor with Cuna Más, a public early childhood development (ECD) program in Peru that runs daycare centers in urban areas and a home visiting service in rural communities, like this one. She asks how things are going and asks about the mother’s daily routine — feeding, bathing, washing her son’s hands — providing guidance and feedback from time to time. Next is playtime, and she takes out a toy for the mother and child. While the child explores, she encourages the mother to talk to the child and ask questions about what he is doing. After, they sing a song together, or tell a story. When the hour is over, Lucía says goodbye to the family and walks to the next home. 

Strengthening & Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: A Global Overview

Evidence is growing that early childhood development (ECD) services have a strong, positive impact on children’s development. Research from diverse contexts shows that interventions which promote nurturing care in early environments significantly improve childhood development and later adult outcomes. For example, a study of the Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar program in Colombia, which provides child care and nutrition services to children under age six, found that adolescents ages 13-17 who had participated in the program were almost 20 percent more likely to be in school than those who had not participated. 

Thinking differently about the early childhood workforce to deliver quality results

On July 12 and 13, 2016, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative hosted its first webinar entitled Diversity and identity: the early childhood workforce. The webinar kicked off the first learning event for the joint learning initiative between the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and Results for Development (R4D). The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative aims to build learning to empower those who work with young children by bridging the gaps in policy and practice so as to build high quality services for all children under age 8. The initiative seeks to strengthen competences and standards, as well as training and professional development, improve monitoring and mentoring and increase the recognition of the profession. Other webinars will be proposed in 2016.

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