Early Childhood Education: Policies, Principles and Practices

Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the teaching of children of ages up to eight years.

Research has long emphasised the importance of the early years of a child’s life and the need for a qualitative and stimulating environment for the child. Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the teaching of children of ages up to eight years. ECE along with Early Childhood Care (ECCE) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) work to consider the survival, growth and development of young children within the Rights of the Child and Economic Returns frameworks. 

A practitioner of Early Childhood Education (ECE) needs to understand the need for provisions and programmes for young children to enable such an environment. In this course, we trace the development of ECE, ECCE and ECD historically and the philosophy of educational thought of select educational thinkers. We will understand how the ECE in India operates through the government, the private and non-governmental voluntary sectors, all of which have particular ideologies which influence the aims of the policies. 

This course also examines the need and implications of non-institutional provisions of ECE services and the role of grassroots functionaries in interacting with children. The purpose of this course is for you to understand the nature and challenges in education and continuous professional development of early childhood educators in different sectors and across levels. Using the most recent policies in India (the National ECCE Policy, 2013; National Curriculum Framework for ECCE, 2014; and the Quality Frameworks document 2014), you will critically analyse the commitment of the state towards the young child by examining the national policies and plans for children, financial outlays made for children’s programmes, outreach goals envisaged, provisions for the girl child, children with disabilities and those in marginalized settings. 

You will also make comparisons with international documents such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Jomtein Declaration, Dakar Framework of Action, Education for All Global Monitoring Report, and Building the Wealth of Nations’ Report, to name a few. This course involves a practicum to anganwadis centres, preschools and teacher training institutes.