Special issue of "Psychological Science and Education" (#3, 2010) is devoted to the first International UNESCO Conference on early childhood care and education. Here is the editorial written by the invited editors Vitaly V. Rubtsov and Elena G. Yudina:
The first International UNESCO Conference on early childhood care and education will be held in September 2010 in Moscow. It arouses profound interest of the Russian scientific and educational community since it is the first large-scale UNESCO forum on this topic. Consequently, this special issue of the “Psychological Science and Education” journal is devoted to the problems of early childhood education.
The issues in education of young children (from birth to 7–8 years old) are recently on the agenda not only in the international educational community but also among the politicians and national leaders. Numerous researches prove the importance of early education in an individual’s life. Great expectations are encharged on it: such educational system must lay the foundation of teaching and bringing up self-contained, initiative, and competent people prepared for the life in modern, rapidly changing world. However, to effectively fulfill these tasks such educational system (called “preschool education” in Russia) requires appropriate organization.
On closer look, it turns out that fulfilling the above-described tasks is connected with the search for answers on a wide range of questions:
- what approaches to early childhood education are there in the modern world?
- what educational contents should preschoolers be taught and in what manner?
- how to promote children’s play, the role of which was profoundly investigated in the frames of cultural-historical psychology?
- what are the peculiarities of current children’s play that differ from the classic view on play as the main context of a preschooler’s development?
- what is the “readiness” that school may require form preschoolers?
- what type of education encompasses the work of secondary school and how does its orientation influence preschool education?
The listed and even more questions are challenged in the articles included into this special issue. It combines the works of different genres – analytic papers discussing general problems of preschool education in different countries as well as research papers. All the texts have something in common as they serve the main goal: to promote professional discussion of the most topical problems in the sphere of preschool education at the pages of this special issue. The contributors are well-recognized specialists in the sphere of early childhood education and care working worldwide.
We hope that the discussion initiated will draw the attention of the international professional community and help the specialists to reveal some new aspects of the problems discussed, develop original and efficient approaches to early childhood education. The experience of such activities shows that theoretical and applied researches carried out in different countries have much in common and enrich each other.