Сommunity-based Early Years Services: the Golden Triangle of Informal, Nonformal and Formal Approaches

1021

Abstract

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.

General Information

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

Journal rubric: Educational Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: van Oudenhoven N., Jualla R. Сommunity-based Early Years Services: the Golden Triangle of Informal, Nonformal and Formal Approaches. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological Science and Education, 2010. Vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 29–40.

References

  1. Bennett J. Improving the well-being of young children in Europe: the role of early years services. Discussion paper, part of EUROCHILD series, New Realities for Children and Young People in Europe, 2009. [Free .ppt presentation]
  2. Children in Europe Young Children and their Services: Developing a European Approach, A Children in Europe Policy paper, 2008.
  3. Council of the European Communities Recommendation on child care (92/241/EEC). Brussels, 1992. [Free full-text]
  4. Council of the European Union Council conclusions on the education of children with a migrant background, 2978th Education, Youth and Culture Council Meeting. Brussels, 29 November 2009. [Free full-text]
  5. Diversity in Early Childhood Education and Training, Brussels, 2007. [Free full-text]
  6. Diversity and Equity: Making Sense of Good Practice, Brussels, 2007. [Free full-text]
  7. Eurochild Eurochild Early Years Education and Care Thematic Working Group Discussion Paper on Common Principles and Definitions, 2009.
  8. European Commission Childcare Network Quality Targets in Services for Young Children. Brussels, 1996.
  9. Fuller, B. Standardized Childhood: the Political and Cultural Struggle over Early Education, Stanford, 2010.
  10. May, H. and Mitchell, L. Strengthening community-based early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand: Report of the Quality Public Early Childhood Education Project, Wellington: New Zealand, 2009. [Free full-text]
  11. NESSE /European Commission Early Childhood Education and Care: Key Lessons from Research for Policy Makers, Brussels, 2009. [Free full-text]
  12. United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, United Nations Children’s Fund and Bernard van Leer Foundation A Guide to General Comment : ‘Implementing Child Rights in Early Childhood’, The Hague, Bernard van Leer Foundation, 2006. [Free full-text]
  13. UNESCO portal on Early Childhood Care and Educacion. 

Information About the Authors

Nico van Oudenhoven, PhD, Co-founder of the International Child Development Initiatives Leiden, Netherlands, Leiden, Netherlands, e-mail: nico@icdi.nl

Rona Jualla, PhD, Independent consultant of the International Child Development Initiatives, Leiden, Netherlands, Leiden, Netherlands, e-mail: rona@icdi.nl