Reframing early education: What do parents value for their children?

Year: 2001

Author: Goodfellow, Joy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Recent research has presented substantive findings concerning early learning and reflected in a body of knowledge about the nature of early development, the critical role played by the child's social and physical environments and the importance of the early years. Learning, when viewed as change that occurs as a result of what is experienced, begins during the prenatal period and spans a lifetime. However, the literature suggests that there are critical periods when foundational learning, that is not easily remediated, occurs. Recent research indicates that the years prior to school entry are one of these.

This paper revisits the concept of early education within the context of what is known about early development, recent brain research, changing images of children as learners. Drawing on a study of parents' use of multicare arrangements, the paper explores the emphasis placed by parents on the importance of early learning that occurs within family environments and within educational programs. These understandings have particular implications for early childhood educators and those involved in teaching in the early years of school.