In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals set out targets aimed at creating a safer, more prosperous, and more equitable world. If these goals were to be achieved, children’s lives would indeed be transformed. In this collection, achievements against these targets are identified, with each contributor examining the progress made in early years provision in Australia, China, England, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, and Sweden. They highlight the priorities and agendas of their respective governments, and focus on the trends and issues which are particularly relevant to each situation, thereby revealing the social and educational inequalities that persist across countries.
A common theme running through this volume concerns the political tensions that arise when governments and educators hold fundamentally different views about the nature and purpose of early years education and the needs of children and families. It is clear that although the past two decades have seen many changes in attitude towards the importance of the early years of life; politically, economically, and environmentally, much still remains to be done if the Millennium Development Goals for young children and their families are to be fully met. Despite this, this volume demonstrates that those who work in this area continue to experience a deep concern for the well-being of young children, which transcends cultures, frontiers, and political and sectarian divides. This book was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of Early Years Education.
Introduction: International Perspectives on Progress, Change and Development in Early Childhood Education and Care, 1993 to 2013 Elizabeth A. Coates and Dorothy Faulkner
1. A participatory process of developing a recommendation for the government about the education of children from birth to three years: the case of Portugal Teresa Vasconcelos
2. A review and analysis of the current policy on early childhood education in mainland China Yan Liu and Yue-Juan Pan
3. Early childhood development in South Africa – progress since the end of apartheid Eric Atmore
4. Trends and tensions: Australian and international research about starting school Sue Dockett and Bob Perry
5. Educational innovation between freedom and fixation: the cultural-political construction of innovations in early childhood education in the Netherlands Bert van Oers
6. Promoting critical awareness in the initial training of preschool teachers in Greece: resistance and perspectives Evangelia Kourti and Alexandra Androussou
7. Preschool a source for young children’s learning and well-being Sonja Sheridan and Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson
8. Mothers’ experiences with a mother-child education programme in five countries Sevda Bekman and Aylin Atmaca Koçak
9. Early childhood policy and practice in England: twenty years of change Dorothy Faulkner and Elizabeth A. Coates