Policy critique and advocacy
One of the primary objectives of any country is to promote its educational development. However, for this aim to be achieved it requires a well set up and clarified strategy which will direct the country to fulfillment of its objectives. Education begins at the very tender age and this is where a good foundation of a child has to be laid if better performance is to be recorded in the future or the proceeding classes. This paper will involve discussion of; early childhood policy and analysis of the impacts that the policy might have on the lives of the children or their families. In addition, this paper will also examine the connection between the policy and advocacy.
Investing in the early years of childhood education is one of the most effective policies adopted by several commonwealth countries such as Australia to help establish better education system. This is a policy that aims at making children self- reliant and improving national development in the coming years. Poverty rate is very high in most of the commonwealth nations and this is the major hindering factor to national development (Oberklaid, 2007). The high rate of poverty has not been controlled so far because an effective strategy has not been established to guide the nations towards eradication of the crisis. Education had been there since but the outcome has not been effective since most people graduate from higher institutions and yet they still cannot be able to stand or support themselves. Research of child development has shown that what happens in the life of a child may have effect on the child’s future life. Therefore, it is important to establish a good foundation at the early age of a child (Moore, 2007). Some of the effects are seen in the social life of the children. For instance some of the affected areas in life include; the health, learning process of the child and social-cultural norms of a society (Smart et al. 2008). Society needs well behaved children to be brought up. This can only be achieved when they are taught the required norms and values at the very early age so that they grow when they know what the society expects from them. The early age of a child is influenced by the environment and the people around the child. Therefore, the caregivers and those associating with the child should be understanding to the children and respond to their physical, emotional, social and learning needs. The government of Australia has adopted this policy together with other commonwealth nations to help create an effective education system in the country.
Investing in the early years of childhood education may have the following impacts in the child’s family and or the family. First, investing in the early years of a child in education will help respond to the individual needs of the child. Children have unique needs and challenges when a lot of concentration is placed on them at the early years it will create the perfect opportunity of responding to the challenges. Secondly, this policy to help improve the child learning outcomes will give the children the chances to be competitive nationally or internationally. It will ensure that these children are well placed to meet their individual needs because they will have acquired the life skills which can help them solve their social and economic challenges. Every family invests in their children so that they can help them in the years to come (Heady & Warren, 2008). This dream cannot be achieved when a child has gone through education system and cannot be able to stand for him/herself and still depends on the family. Therefore, investing a lot and concentrating in the early childhood education will enhance this dream of promoting self-reliance so that the family can also depend on the child when he/she has done well and achieved a better life. Early childhood education assists families in relieving them from much workload. Most of the families have a lot to do during the day and early childhood services can help them to reduce the work and giving them more time to do something else. Research has shown that a good start leads to a good ending. This also applies to the child education. Developing early childhood education will enable the learners develop their intellectual skills to the fullest. This will eventually lead to economic and social development of the families and the whole society.
Investing a lot in the early childhood education mainly advocates for improving the social and economic status of the child, family or country. Every country has a responsibility to ensure that every citizen of that country live a better life. In addition, every country wants the best for its citizens, both children and adults. However, children require a lot of concentration and the best at the beginning of their lives. This policy mainly advocates for improving the lives of the children and their learning conditions. The policy aims at improving the current investment to a better standard which can respond to the children’s needs and that of their family. Bringing children up is the toughest task and has to be done by the families. However, the families have neglected this responsibility and left it for the school due to the hard and competitive life (Brooks-Gunn et al. 2005). As a result, children are taken to school while they are still young and this leaves the caring responsibility to the teachers in school (Zubrick et al. 2008). Giving more concentration to this level of their life development will help these children receive the best care and learning through accessing better learning resources and environment. Teachers of these children are the people who have the most powerful influence to these children’s lives because they are the ones who spend most of the time with them. Therefore, improving the E.C.D standards can act as one of the strategies to enactment of this policy. The policy can be placed there but its implementation is another task that requires serious direction. Some of the ways of implementing the investment policy at the early days of a child’s learning include; improving the learning conditions, implementing the already enacted reforms in early childhood development education, bridging the gaps in the education sector and addressing challenges learners and educators in the early childhood development faces. Some of the strategies which can assist in promoting the same advocacy include; engaging the communities in decision making to matters which concerns them because these children come from the communities and this makes it their concern. In addition, engaging community in the decision involves also helping parents to understand their children because parents do not spend most of the time with these children. Therefore, engaging parents to understand the importance of the program will help them also understand their children’s development. Secondly, these institutions can engage the non-governmental organizations to help invest in the program either through funds or manpower assistance. The government can also take a role in the implementation of certain policies enacted to improve the sector. The government has a major role to play in enacting and implementing this policy. First, investing in the early childhood program requires a lot in terms of funding and provision of manpower (Sylva et al. 2004). Therefore, the government can fund the program by providing trained and skilled personnel. The government also through its agencies has the role of setting and implementing the curriculum. The curriculum should be comprehensive and include all the essential process in implementing the syllabus and the curriculum. In the curriculum, a standard assessment program should be established to enable these learners be competitive at both national and international levels in terms of education. Focusing on the early childhood development studies will enable children gain the best start in their lives. The government can also help the program through licensing these institutions to enable them to operate under the government’s approval. However, licensing these institutions should be based on the quality services offered in the institution after thorough inspection carried out by the government officials. This can also be a strategy to help improve the system and also enhance the policy’s advocacy.
The teacher is the center of everything in this program. Most of the responsibilities are left for the teacher to perform. For instance, the teacher acts as the parent when these children are in school. This gives him/her the opportunity to interact with these children and ensure they are taken care of. The teacher is the most influential person in these children’s lives. Therefore, whatever the teacher does should aim at improving the lives of the learners. The teacher should understand the learners’ needs and respond to those needs. The teacher can also maintain personal contact with both the child and parents to ensure that the child’s needs are provided and catered for (Pianta et al. 1997). The head teacher is the leader in the school and he should possess the good leadership qualities. For instance, he/she should engage all the stakeholders in the decision making process. The head teacher has to motivate the staff to encourage them to work and deliver their services to their best. Through consultation of both parents and the staff, the teacher can effectively implement the policy. The teacher is the supervisor in the school. He has to ensure that children’s rights are protected and no child is discriminated against race, gender or social-economic backgrounds. Supervising also involves the staff. The staff has to deliver their best services on daily basis. The head teacher can also improve the staff’s skills through engaging them in in service programs in which they can advance their skills. Education is a continuous process where one learns new skills on daily basis. This will help to improve the early childhood development program.
Some of the recommended strategies towards achievement of this policy include; first, it is better to improve the accessibility to health services to allow most people access the service affordably (Currie, 2008). Research has shown that most children die at the age below five years. This is due to the lack of access to better maternal health services (Abelson, 2003). Therefore, if the policy objective is to be achieved then accessibility to better healthcare has to be improved to enable everyone gain access to quality and healthy life. Secondly, the program should also involve all children including the disadvantaged children. Since the policy aims to enhance the service outcomes for all children, then every child should be catered. In most cases vulnerable children have been neglected and discriminated and have been denied access to services enjoyed by their counterparts who are normal. This strategy will ensure that all children are protected and their needs are catered for.
In conclusion, this paper has examined early childhood development policy and its implementation. The paper has also discussed the several strategies to be applied to enhance the enactment of this policy. Children are unique and different from one another. Therefore, they need different attention. Caretakers of these children should understand them and respond to their needs.
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