First report on the values, beliefs, and concerns of parents
On June 30th 2015, the CARE team delivered the first report on the values, beliefs, and concerns of parents regarding ECEC services in nine European countries (England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal)
So far, about 2500 parents, 2172 staff working with children and 277 policy makers participated in the study, and data collection is still ongoing. The CARE team wishes to thank all participants who spent time sharing their opinions, attitudes, and experiences with us on our website and Facebook page.
The results indicate that, in all countries, parents attach higher value to the stimulation of soft social, emotional, learning-related, and personal skills in ECEC; whereas an emphasis on pre-academics seems less valued, especially for younger children. This rather broad and holistic perspective on child development aligns with recent insights from developmental science and with studies examining the long-term effects and social and economic benefits from ECEC programs.
This finding is an important message for both national and EU educational policy, as it seems to be an opportunity for defining key quality and curriculum indicators at the European level. Nevertheless, the study results also indicate that such benchmarks or criteria have to respect cultural differences, such as the role division between ECEC-settings and the family, local and national traditions and variations in ECEC-systems, and socioeconomic circumstances. Furthermore, as larger differences are found for children younger than 3 years of age, it seems to be important to create a stronger shared understanding of children’s early development, for which developmental science may provide a relevant knowledge base.
The full report on the views of parents, as well as the reports on the views of ECEC staff and policy representatives regarding ECEC services is upcoming.