European Quality Label for Early Childhood Educational Institutions
Since October 2017, seven different institutions from Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria have been working on developing a European Quality Label for pre-school and nursery education. The label for kindergartens and nursery schools represents an important cornerstone for high-quality work in early childhood education and care. Once the project is finalised, it serves especially to enhance public visibility of quality of education and care institutions and supports quality assurance.
Even though quality assurance measures and certifications exist for many different areas, children’s education and care has been largely neglected. However, due to the great significance of early education and care for children’s development, it is of utmost importance to ensure high-quality standards already during the first years of institutional care for children. As the concept of quality – above all within the educational realm – is perceived or defined very differently, in a first step of our project we strive to determine how kindergarten teachers and educators as well as parents and supporting institutions assess different quality criteria for children’s care and how important these are for the different groups.
With the help of a comprehensive questionnaire survey among the stated target groups we are able to specify regional or country-specific criteria and to take them into account when further developing the quality label. Based on a so-called criteria catalogue and country-specific particularities contained therein, we also develop a handbook to show specifically how these criteria can be validated and how a detailed analysis in institutions for children’s education and care enables determining quality of educational and care work. Thereby we focus not only on enhancing visibility of quality standards but especially aim at pinpointing the institutions’ strengths and weaknesses in the different areas in order to establish recommendations for teachers and their scope for action.
We project partners are firmly convinced that this project represents an important cornerstone for high-quality work in early childhood education and care. The objective is to guarantee access to a “standardized” quality label for all EU countries and with this to make way for improving quality, making it visible and permanently-secured.
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