Children in England are spending an increasing amount of their early lives in government-funded early years childcare. And this represents a significant investment of public funds. Despite the strong consensus that high-quality childcare provision can generate significant and sustained improvements in child outcomes, there remains a lack of clarity as to what this high-quality provision looks like in practice.
The Education Policy Institute (EPI) and the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) think there are two important ways of looking at quality in early years provision:
- Structural quality relates to inputs that are more easily observed, measured and regulated, such as group size, child–teacher ratios, staff retention, and teachers’ training and professional development;
- and Process quality captures children’s day-to-day experiences and includes the educational activities undertaken, the types of interactions between children, teachers and parents, and the way in which routine care needs are met.
Understanding and agreeing what ‘high-quality early years provision’ looks like requires us to look at both aspects, side by side. To help with this, EPI and EIF have published two reports on the key features of ‘quality’ in early years childcare provision that have the greatest potential to maximise child outcomes, focusing on structural quality and process quality respectively.
For further information click on the link: Early Years Education: What Does High-Quality Provision Look like?