Globalization of the HighScope Approach: Supporting the Early Development of Young Children
by Iheoma U. Iruka, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director, HighScope Educational Research Foundation and Wahyuni Ratna Lingga, Business Quality Manager, HighScope Indonesia Institute
By the time children enter kindergarten, they are expected to have mastered certain academic (e.g., reading and math) skills and to have achieved the social–emotional skills necessary for success in the school environment. These expectations, along with the evolving science of early childhood development, have led to a more thorough examination of and investment in the quality of early care and education (ECE) programs serving young children, not only in the United States, but across the globe. This growing recognition of the importance of the earliest years of life is evident in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that outline 17 global goals considered central to sustainable development in all countries. The goals recognize the importance of early childhood development and seek to ensure that children have access to inclusive and high-quality education throughout childhood.
The concept of quality in ECE is multidimensional. Quality dimensions include the provider–child relationship, activities and materials related to learning activities, the organization and management of care settings, and the family–educator relationship. The quality of ECE environments is often examined through structural and process features. Structural features include group size, ratio, population served (e.g., infant, special needs), teacher education and training (Cassidy et al., 2005). Process features include quality of instruction, age-appropriate materials, and the sensitivity of providers’ interactions with children (Cassidy et al., 2005; Mashburn et al., 2008). It is posited that structural features provide “the foundation for process indicators” (Cassidy et al., 2005, p. 507). Studies of dimensions of quality and their relationship to child outcomes (Cassidy et al., 2005) have found that higher quality interactions and teaching are more likely in programs with highly educated and trained teachers and providers, as they have the knowledge, ability, and skills to meet children’s cognitive, language, and social–emotional needs.