A Stitch in Time: Strengthening the First Years of School
As Australia recognized the need for a better educated and highly trained workforce, national attention focused on secondary and post-secondary education and vocational training, with an emphasis on the acquisition of basic, entry level work skills. Because the foundations for success at this level are laid at an early age, however, the Schools Council sought to address issues of importance to the crucial beginning years of education with a project called The Compulsory Years of Schooling. This report elaborates on some of the issues relevant to the early childhood years in schools. The paper asserts that children five to eight years of age need educational programs that have been specifically designed for them and teachers who have been trained to work with young children. Although the style of teaching throughout primary school is gradually changing, teachers are encouraged to adopt developmentally appropriate practice with their youngest children. The report also proposes that early childhood teacher training should be largely separate from the discipline-oriented primary and secondary teacher education courses, and offer narrower specialization within the early childhood range. Improvement in early childhood education also depends upon the ability of the early childhood field as a whole to find its voice and advocate for good practice in all early childhood programs. Contains approximately 95 references. (TJQ)
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