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Pedagogy in Early Childhood Services with Special Reference to Nordic Approaches 4039
This article first outlines the importance of social and family context when making policy for young children. It then treats briefly of the wider goals that early childhood policy can seek – not only economic and social aims but also an early introduction to democratic practice for young children. The Swedish Curriculum for Preschool expresses it thus: Kindergartens shall promote fundamental values such as a sense of community, care for others and joint responsibility, and shall represent an environment that supports respect for human worth and the right to be different. There follows an analysis of different conceptions of pedagogy and approaches to young children that are current in Europe, again highlighting the great respect for young children shown by the Nordic countries. The Russian tradition of kindergarten has much in common with Nordic practice. In terms of structural features, such as the pre-service training of educators or the number of children per staff, many PEI centres in the Russian Regions compare well with most Western countries. In some Regions, more than half the educational staff have university degrees, child:staff ratios are relatively low (though at the moment, under great pressure) and the quality of buildings and amenities, though not without weaknesses, can be extremely high. In seeking to improve quality even further, the Nordic countries offer an excellent model for Russian policymakers to follow.
Keywords: early childhood education, childcare, traditions, Nordic, preschool, pedagogy, Russia