Children as quality evaluators of early childhood education

An article based on Progressive Feedback data Children’s negative experiences as a part of quality evaluation in early childhood education and care has been accepted for publication in the journal Early Child Development and Care. Children’s evaluations have been used in Progressive Feedback since 2011. In the article, children’s views in evaluating early childhood education is central. The data consists of 5 439 child interviews conducted by the children’s parents and guardians. Peer relations are central to children and difficulties in peer interaction are central to all children in every age group. Children’s views provide essential first hand experiences. Processing children views between adults help the staff and parents to consider children’s point of view. Processing children’s views together with children provides an opportunity to practice interaction skills together with others. Additionally, children’s views help adults to consider children’s solutions. Furthermore,  children’s evaluations help children to learn to impact their own lifes and also the shared commynity with others.  Children’s experience in belonging together with other children is important. Four-year-old children reported most negative peer experiences. The negativity of daily activities increase as children grow older. Also adults’ guidance is experienced more negative as children grow older. For the smallest children the descriptions are often concrete descriptions of mental of physical discomfort. In the table can be seen the trends in children’s negative experiences as children grow older in early childhood education. The article can be accessed at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03004430.2020.1801667.

Learning environment evaluation

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (Karvi) has published the Guidelines and Recommendations for Evaluationg the Quality of Early Childhood Education and Care in 2017. Now, two years later Karvi has published a report (in Finnish) based on a survey based on educators’ self-evaluation on the quality of Early Education in daycare centres and childminders. Mari Sillman has just finished her graduated thesis on the reliability of self-evaluated quality based on the Karvi indicators. The thesis is an invaluable perspective on the challenges of valid and reliable early education evaluation. According to Sillman, a survey based on self-evaluation is challenging or impossible. Multimethod evaluation could be a more reliable
way. Mari’s thesis is available here. In Progressive feedback, we can compare the self-evaluation surveys with independent measures of observation, leadership evaluation, child evaluation and tests.

Evaluating Early Education

Evaluation or Early Childhood Education is a multifaceted and complex science and art.Who would be a better judge on the quality of Early Education than the children themselves? Our data suggests that children’s evaluations are a valuable part of the multi-method quality evaluation of early education. Results can be used to develop practices by paying attention to children´s participation and positive aspects that children mention about Early Education. See the new article in Journal of Early Childhood Education and Research.

Equality & segregation

In Finland, we have been doing research on Early Education for long. Our comprehensive and deep results expose the hidden processes of inequality. The leading Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, had these research results as main news in 2 August 2019. Early Education can make headlines. This is important, because the processes of inequality are often unconscious and the best way for more equal future is to become aware of the small, but repeating obstacles of equality. The best way to enhance equality is to get a hold of the processes of inequality as early as possible. Read the article.

Finnish Education Evaluation

Finnish Education Evaluation Center organized a meeting for the content producers of evaluation 17 June 2019. The goal of the meeting was to enhance the information exchange on the national level, increase national cooperation, decrease overlaping data collection and add perspectives, openness and effectiveness. Jyrki Reunamo presented Progressive Feedback, which has deep, fresh and comprehensive early education evaluation system running in Finland, comprising of more than half of the Finnish Early Education. You can see the presentation at https://karvi.fi/app/uploads/2019/06/Jyrki-Reunamo.pdf.

Is child-centered pedagogy really good for children’s learning?

Professor James Ko from the Education University of Hong Kong is visiting Finland.  We will test children’s self-management and pre-academic skills both in Finland and Hong Kong. Then we will observe children’s activities and teachers’ activities. in the follow-up study we will test the children again, seeking to find out what kind of learning environment and teaching style is best for children’s learning. This will help teachers, policymakers and parents understand how effective teaching in two contrastive contexts longitudinally affects children’s learning and their influences at multiple levels of surrounding contexts (classroom, school, education system). We will:
1. Examine the relationships between effective teaching and childhood development:
a) Whether children can learn more from teachers who show more positive teacher-student interactions;
b) Whether child-led, play-based teaching and teacher-led, academically-focused teaching approach have different impacts;
c) Whether a dominant type of teaching approach results in different learning outcomes;
2. To examine a) whether the above relationships change or strengthen over time (following up across three school years) and b) whether there are individual differences.

In the picture, you can see James presenting the pre-academic test. In our project we have already found several key indicators for a deep zone of proximal development. This is the first time we study the longitudinal effect of that zone!

Interface for a knowledge based Early Learning

Korea is well-known for its high quality and ambitious education. Especially ambitious is NCSoft with its Laughing Peanut kindergarten, combining research based development, and happy children. Jayoung Koo (Laughing Peanut Design Division, Head of Division) and Juyen Kang (Laughing Peanut Design Division, Team Leader) visited Finland 4-5 April. We seek possibilities to integrate the Finnish Progressive Feedback with the Korean  know-how to make a teacher-friendly interface for a knowledge-based Early Education development.

Precise feedback for schools and classes

In Finland, in Nummenkylä and Siimapuisto day-care centres, we have piloted progressive feedback, in which it is possible to give timely feedback for the educators and principals to understand, follow and steer the development processes in real-time in the school. In the pilot system, each educator is trained as an observer and each observer observes a random group once a month. This practice gives the keys for educational development to the educators and principals, with the possibility to share the results with parents and children for deepr cooperation.

Chinese Teacher Education cooperation

A dedicated group of Early Education experts from China visited University of Helsinki and Finland 26-30 September. The visitors included Dong Li (China next generation education foundation early childhood education federation), Gavin (CEO of the Lead Baby Education Group), Jackie (Education director of Lead Baby Education Group), Ye Fei (China Early Childhood Education Weekly, Founder and chief editor,  Blue sky club, Founder), Yuan Shenggang (online Education platform, Founder) & Liu Hong (CEO of the Beijing Tayaseine Education Ltd., Co). We work for cooperation in teacher education and development of Chinese early education. The delegation visited also Nummenkylä daycare center to have a first hand experience on Progressive feedback.

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Tunisia, World bank & UNICEF cooperation

The Tunisian Ministry of Women, Family and Children partnered with Fun Academy to provide equitable and high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Tunisia. The World Bank and UNICEF are providing the international and technical support for this initiative. The delegation visited University of Helsinki in August to seek possibilities for early childhood development (ECD) and protection. The Orientation Project provides excellent auditing tools to observe how lessons, activities and routines within an early years setup are correlated with ECD outcomes.