As educators and policymakers around the globe grapple with how to best serve their youngest learners, a few systems are taking the lead. A new, groundbreaking study, The Early Advantage, finds that Australia, England, Finland, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Singapore are pioneering new but remarkably different visions for early childhood education and care (ECEC).
In the new book, The Early Advantage 1: Early Childhood Systems That Lead By Example, world-renowned early childhood researcher Sharon Lynn Kagan and her team of international experts examined the innovative approaches to early childhood policy, practice, and service delivery in these leading systems. Kagan and her team analyzed the quality, equity, efficiency and sustainability of services for young children in the six jurisdictions. The book takes readers on a deep dive into the innovative strategies and approaches to ECEC and offers an insider’s look into common challenges, themes and lessons from these diverse systems.
“This study brings to light the striking new reality facing early childhood education and care systems around the world,” said Kagan. “For the first time, we are seeing clearly the disparate and rapidly evolving global perspectives in ECEC. These differing perspectives and approaches to the “how” and “what” of systemic change reflect a policy and research sphere that is at an inflection point. Our understanding of the significance of the early years is growing rapidly and the common effort to create public policy and programs that support young children during this critical time are, in many ways, scrambling to keep pace.”
A second book, The Early Advantage 2, is slated to be published next Spring. In that second volume, Kagan and her team will detail the “building blocks” that serve as the cornerstones of high-quality ECEC. These building blocks are the synthesis of the research team’s research into how the differing jurisdictions approach quality and equity in their unique contexts.
This essential work illustrates how nations can provide quality early education and care to young children through exemplary approaches from around the world. A vital resource from the leading global experts in the field, it is a must-read for all those seeking to meet the joys and challenges of advancing the development of their youngest citizens.
This volume pushes the early childhood field far beyond its traditional focus on services toward understanding systems, culture, governance, and sustainability―all of which are critical if societies are to realize the developmental potential of all children.
Kagan and her team describe a field at a very important inflection point, and they provide a framework for pushing on to the next stage. My guess is that this book will be remembered not just for incisive reporting and analysis, but as the book the field needed to get to the other side of that inflection point.