Home » ExchangeEveryDay » Integrating Early Childhood and Education

ExchangeEveryDay Past Issues

<< Previous Issue | View Past Issues | | Next Issue >> ExchangeEveryDay
Integrating Early Childhood and Education
July 3, 2002

"Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich." -Sarah Bernhardt


In 1996, responsibility for child care in Sweden was transferred from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs to the Ministry of Education and Science. At the same time, "Pre-School Classes" were introduced for 6-year olds as part of the compulsory school system. Pre-School, which had catered to 1-6-year olds prior to the transition, became the first level of Sweden's education system, now serving children ages 1 through 5.

Critics raised a number of concerns. Some expressed fears that pre-school would become more formalized, as had been the case in other countries. Educators worried that pre-school pedagogy would lose its emphasis on play, children's natural learning strategies, and their holistic development. It was also feared that child care, which had enjoyed a high priority under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs as a family support policy, would lose its primacy and become marginalized in the education sector (much as advocates in the USA are concerned that Head Start would lose its unique position if it was transferred into the Department of Education).

The UNESCO Policy Brief, "Integrating Early Childhood Into Education: The Case of Sweden," reports mixed results from the transition. Some formalization has occurred, but not to the extent predicted by critics. An evaluation of teachers in the Pre-school classes for 6-year olds revealed that these teachers organized their activities in a formal way, based on their notion of what formal schooling should look like. In some cases, their practices were found to be more rigid than that of the primary teachers. On the other hand, no such formalization has occurred in the pre-school programs serving 1-5-year olds. With the shift of 6-year olds into the Primary system, pre-schools, freed of responsibility for pre-primary education, have been able to concentrate on more developmentally-based approaches to education.

To review this or other UNESCO Policy Briefs, go to www.unesco.org.

Attention World Forum 2002 attendees! The slide show, "Time to Say Goodbye", from the closing ceremonies of the New Zealand World Forum, can now be viewed in the World Forum pages of www.ChildCareExchange.com


Delivered five days a week containing news, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

What is ExchangeEveryDay?

ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

Post a Comment

Have an account? to submit your comment.


Your e-mail address will not be visible to other website visitors.

Check the box below, to help verify that you are not a bot. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this form.

Disclaimer: Exchange reserves the right to remove any comments at its discretion or reprint posted comments in other Exchange materials.