ERG SES E 08, Early Years Education
Importance of early childhood education has been proved by several studies. While some of these studies has focused on effects of early childhood education on holistic development of the children (Barnet, 1995; Burger, 2010; Melhuish, Ereky-Stevens, Petrogiannis, Ariescu, Penderi, Rentzou, & Leseman, 2015), others investigate effects of early childhood education on specific areas like cognitive development and academic success (Cortázar 2015; Barnet, 1998), social and emotional development (Gormley Jr, Phillips, Newmark, Welti, & Adelstein, 2011). Under the direction of all these studies, many countries have been in the effort of developing their own early childhood education models which are suitable for their cultures and meeting their needs. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia are the examples of early childhood education approaches emerging according to cultural and social needs of the period and have become widespread (New, 2007; Gutek, 2004; Uhrmacher, 1995; Edwards; 2002). As well as these well-known approaches, there are several early childhood education models around the world that address the needs of the originated geography and endeavor to achieve universality at the same time. To illustrate, Persona Dolls and Sure Start are the current early childhood education approaches originated from cultural and social needs of the societies (Acar & Çetin, 2017; Sarı, 2017). At this point, it is thought that early childhood educators should be aware of different early childhood education approaches originated in different parts of the world and in different times and addressing meets of the originated geography to adopt these approaches according to their own needs.
With this idea, in this study an alternative early childhood education program endeavor to address needs of the originated country which called as ICDS-Integrated child development services will be presented.
The study has one of the qualitative research methods, the literature review design was applied as research design. Also the document analysis was employed by the researcher as the data collection method. The writer provided from both online and print documents including empirical and review studies, government reports and policy statements.
ICDS programs has positive effects on health and educational conditions of children. However, non-formal preschool education service which providing in the Anganwadis cannot be reach at expected level. Although non-formal preschool education provides improvements in academic achievement, cognitive development and school readiness of the children, education given in preschools has more positive effects on children in same age group. Also there are inequalities in physical and educational conditions of preschools and Anganwadi centers. On the other hand, health, nutrition, monitoring and immunization services provided under the ICDS scheme better positive effects on both beneficiary children and women. Higher birth weight, nutritional and health status and lower IMR are the indicators of positive impacts of ICDS on beneficiaries. Different form other child development and education services, the ICDS programs includes both children and mothers in antenatal and postnatal process. Also the program considers health conditions of both children and mothers. Management of the services are provided in a hierarchical order and this order provide discipline and discipline for each workers. Moreover, training of the workers was considered and it is aimed to provide same quality and conditions in each Anganwadi center. Simple and basic structure of the AWCs enable the ICDS to become widespread easily and increase the number of beneficiaries but high workloads of AWWs and low physical conditions of AWCs decrease the quality and effectiveness level of the services. So, we can say that ICDS program has an effective structure but the quality of services need to be increased. So, when we consider the direct proportion between quality and economic conditions, the programs may be more effective when adopted in more developed countries. For example, in Turkey the ICDS program can be applied in rural parts of the country with disadvantaged groups when the necessary cultural adaptations were applied.
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