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Сommunity-based Early Years Services: the Golden Triangle of Informal, Nonformal and Formal Approaches 367
Jualla R., Ph.D. in Philology, Independent consultant of the International Child Development Initiatives, Leiden, Netherlands, Leiden, Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org
van Oudenhoven N., Ph.D., Co-founder of the International Child Development Initiatives Leiden, Netherlands, Leiden, Netherlands, email@example.com
This paper is a plea to validate nonformal and informal Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) as indispensable for the wellbeing and healthy development of young boys and girls. It argues that ECEC as it is discussed in national and international forums, has been mainly restricted to formal approaches and that the resources that are available in the family or in the community are, however, largely ignored or are looked upon as less effective if not inferior to those offered by formal settings. Children’s learning and development takes place in a range of settings and in this paper ECEC is considered within three related and mutually supportive forms or settings: informal, non-formal and formal that forms a relationship called the golden triangle. It is claimed that to fully grasp what is possible within communitybased ECEC, it is necessary to recognize the value of all forms in them and in their interaction with each other. This makes possible the necessary flexibility and responsiveness to local needs inherent in community-based ECEC. As quality assessment of ECEC programmes are notoriously difficult to assess, an approach, using a spider-web diagram, is being offered as interesting way to come to grips with this difficulty. The evaluation tool involves a simple method of identifying critical dimensions in early childhood care and applying a pointsystem of elimination to determine where an institution stands in relation to what is deemed ideal within that particular context. The tool is considered effective for the very fact that it is contextual in nature and as such unique.
Keywords: early childhood care and education, nonformal, informal and formal education, golden triangle, quality assessment early education, spider-web diagram, community-based early childhood care and education, early childhood development