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Globalisation and its effect on early childhood education in UK

Globalisation has opened market economies as characterized by widespread privatization of public enterprises and significant cuts in educational spending, among others. Significantly weakening or totally eliminating the welfare state, globalisation has negatively resulted to an unprecedented concentration of wealth and to dramatic increase in unemployment and in social exclusion worldwide.

To mitigate the impacts, nations worldwide and international organizations have employed measures. According to Myers (2000), these measures, which are termed as compensatory programmes, include support for the care, education and development of small children. Globalisation has been considered as one of the major world events that have significant impact on the early childhood education and care (ECEC) all over the world (UNESCO, 2000).

The gains of the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s gained in terms of integrating care and education have been affected negatively by globalization through minimized state participation, thus slowing down the move towards unified services (ibid). This paper looks at the effects of globalization in the early childhood education system in UK, in comparison with another country’s early childhood education system in a globalised setting. Aspects of Globalised Early Childhood Education a. State Policies

The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the developed countries which has adopted new set of policies regarding its ECEC, reversing its age-old practice of the government not attending to the matters pertaining to early childhood. UK has responded to the changing needs of the people amidst globalization by adopting new government policies bringing about a wide range of reforms to address early childhood, the family and the world of work, along with significant allocation of resources for the ECEC services.

As reported in the The United Kingdom (2000, p. 53), its main initiatives towards this paradigm shift in ECEC include mainly educational provision for all small children four-year old to seven-year olds; Sure Start, a compensatory programme for children below three, with their families in disadvantaged areas; fresh fund sources for early childhood; and comprehensive strategy to develop and implement a framework from which will be based the qualifications and necessary trainings for early education, childcare and play group sectors. b. Pedagogy

Globalised education takes a different shape and form, as well as methods and techniques, that maximises technological advances available in a highly globalised environment. In this age of the internet and push-button technology, pedagogy in early childhood classrooms is aided with computers, accessing the internet for relevant learning materials to ensure that the small pupils are trained in the use of technological resources that the real world uses. It is also not new for early childhood schools in UK to use several interactive media for classroom learning. c. Content/Curriculum

In the context of a globalised environment, the United Kingdom government has set up a mechanism to provide small children with the best and holistic curriculum that it deems adequate to mold the small children able and ready for the rapidly changing world. From the Early Years Foundation (EYFS) Handbook (2008), developed by Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the EYFS is based on six areas of learning, namely; personal, social and emotional development; communication, language and literacy; problem solving, reasoning and numeracy; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and, creative development.

A set of standards for teachers and care-providers are developed and made accessible to as many stakeholders as possible to ensure that quality standards are followed to achieve what the programme set out to achieve from the start – well-developed, well-rounded individuals ready for the formal education system. Comparative Analysis of Globalised Early Childhood Education As mentioned earlier, one of globalisation’s effects has been local and international governments’ renewed interest in taking care of their own small children through early childhood education and care (ECEC).

Responses have been different among nations, especially considering that big gaps exist between the developing and the developed nations. To have comparison, the UK’s EYFS will be compared against another developed nation’s similar effort, which is New Zealand’s Te Whariki. EYFS has been a result of the UK government’s response to the changing needs of its people with the new trends in globalization.

Through Childcare Act of 2006, the EYFS has been given its legal framework, from which mechanisms to operate, develop and support the EYFS have been developed and implemented. With a holistic and integrated perspective in child development, EYFS uses technologically advanced educational aids to help facilitate classroom learnings. On the other hand, Te Whariki is New Zealand’s similar effort, providing holistic and integrated educational foundation for small children, with mechanisms to involve the whole community in the shaping of these children.

Using New Zealand’s own indigenous cultural practices and knowledge as integral part of the curriculum content, Te Whariki operates in a similar way as the UK’s EYFS – with adequate policy support as well as financial support from the government and from the whole community. The overall objective of developing well-rounded, well –developed individuals is also similar to UK’s EYFS. Positive Impacts The efforts by governments worldwide to take care of small children instead of just leaving them to the care of families and or the private sector is already a significantly positive effect of globalization on early childhood education.

Further, globalised education at early age creates awareness within the children about the realities in a globalised world, building character that would easily adapt to the highly technologically advanced world. Negative Impacts As long as the well-planned plans and programs are followed strictly by implementers, there can be not much negative impacts to the small children. While some schools of thought push for late schooling for small children, the times have changed and call for pragmatic solutions. Conclusion

Globalisation, with all its twin effects of negative and positive, has affected positively the early education sector around the globe. With international organizations establishing standards for countries to implement early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Exposing small children to the realities of globalization through curriculum content, as well as through the use of technological advances to aid learning, are excellent ways of preparing the future generation to cope with the ever-changing globalised world.

References Bertran, T. and Pascal, C. OECD Thematic Review of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy: Background report for the United Kingdom, Centre for Research in Early Childhood University College Worcester, 2000. Early Years Foundation Stage, http://www. standards. dfes. gov. uk/eyfs/site/profile/index. htm Haddad, Lenira, An Integrated Approach to Early Education and Care, UNESCO Early Childhood and Family Policy, Series n3, October 2002. Myers, R. G. Early childhood care and development. UNESCO, 2000 Te Whariki, http://www. howickplaycentre. co. nz/tewhariki. htm UNESCO-Early Childhood and Family Education section, www. unesco. org/education/educprog/ecf

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