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Consolidating Governmental Early Childhood Education and Care Services under the Ministry of Education and Science: A Swedish Case Study. Early Childhood and Family Policy Series.

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As part of a UNESCO-sponsored series of studies examining how integrated and coordinated early childhood policies are implemented, this report presents a case study of the process of integrating early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Sweden under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Science. The report outlines the reforms preceding the integration, concepts prevailing in the field, rationales behind the reform, the process itself, and its impact and consequences. Emphasized within the report is the finding that with formal integration at the ministerial level, ECEC shifted from the arena of social and family affairs to the educational sphere. Through the reforms of 2001 and 2002, preschool became a right for all children in Swedish society, bringing Sweden closer to the ideal of universal preschool as the first stage of lifelong learning. The processes, consequences, and impacts of the policy differed significantly among Swedens 289 municipalities. It is noted that the integration of the two school forms resulted from a well-planned process with a strong pedagogical rationale in some municipalities, while in others the rationale was mainly financial. Integration translated into overall financial gain as well as further progress toward the goal of preschool for all children. One of the major lessons learned from the policy changes was that the personnel involved, including teachers, recreational instructors, and day care attendants, need time to adjust to the new integrated work teams, to document their new practices, and to collectively reflect on the change. (Contains 68 references.) (Author/KB)

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Author:Taguchi, Hillevi Lenz; Munkammar, Ingmarie
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Case study
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:318
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