All over the world there are many different approaches and perspectives when looking at the Early Years sector. Many different countries have different ways in which they run things; much of this is due to their cultural viewpoint. This essay will take a look at and compare the Irish early childhood sector to that of Sweden’s and then it will compare and evaluate which of the two is better and why. The essay will view the history of provision; types of services; staff; curriculum; pedagogy; quality and inclusion in the two countries.
History of Provision
In 1854, the first infant crèche was opened. The key function of these early programs was to offer cheap care to disadvantaged children whose mothers had a job outside the house. In 1944, when limited public support was established, the term “crèche” was changed to “day care centre”, and the National Board of Health and Welfare become the new supervisory authority. In the early stages, the main purpose of the day care centres was to offer different choices to placement in foster homes. Foster homes, day care centres, and family day care homes were connected by a familiar purpose. Professionals working in day-care and the pre-school class were expected to have comparable training and work on related content for children of all ages (Gunnarsson et al 1999). In Sweden by law children from the ages of one-twelve years have a right to a place in a pre-school.
The demand for formal childcare in Ireland began to grow in the early 1970s, related with the tendency for women to stay in employment after marriage. At that time, the provision of formal childcare was very narrow and existed mostly as pre-school educational opportunities in very small and moderately unstructured settings, generally for the academic year previous to the first year in infant school.
As a result, many families that both parents worked had to rely on family members and friends for childcare. In the 1980s and 1990s, as more stayed in work after childbirth, childcare needs of parents continued to regularly be met by family or friends. This was still the case in 2005, as shown by the childcare survey done by the Central Statistics Office, which showed that dependence on relatives to supply childcare support was still the main option for many Irish families. Siolta was developed in 2006 to set up quality standards for childcare in Ireland followed by Aistear the national curriculum for 0-6 year olds (Louth County Childcare, 2006).
Types of provision
In Sweden young children attend Forskola (pre-school) full-time 30 hours per week. Publicly run centres that care for and educate children age 1-5 when their parents are working or studying or if the children have special needs. These open all year round and the opening times are varied to fit with the working hours of the parents. Some children attend Familiedaghem particularly in rural areas. This is the comparable to the Family day-care home in Ireland. It entails public...