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Global Guidelines for the Education and Care of Young Children: The Work Continues.

In July 1999, 83 early childhood professionals representing the global community met in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, to develop basic components and guidelines for programs serving children under the age of formal school attendance. As a result of work completed at that International Symposium on Early Childhood Education and Care for the 21st Century, seven documents were produced by working groups and subsequently edited extensively and published as a joint publication by the co-sponsors of the symposium, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP).

The Second Symposium on Early Childhood Education and Care for the 21st Century will be held July 8-11, 2002, in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, again co-sponsored by OMEP and ACEI. Participants at this second gathering will pursue four goals:

* Editing the outcome document from the first symposium in order to develop a concise list of statements for wide distribution

* Expanding/consolidating the document to address urgent issues affecting children worldwide from birth through 3

* Discussing issues and concerns that arise from the implementation of the document following the first symposium, as well as the global state of early childhood education and care since that document was prepared

* Considering future actions that the global professional early childhood education community can take on behalf of the education and care of young children.

The first goal addresses the need for a brief document that can be used with national government leaders to communicate the main points of the Global Guidelines. The third goal will use feedback from implementation of the Global Guidelines since the first symposium to further refine the original document. One strategy for soliciting such feedback is to issue a call for reports on implementation efforts. ACEI and OMEP representatives have been invited to submit reports on use of the Global Guidelines, using the following criteria:

* Identify items that are not clear or understandable, particularly if the document is not available in your primary language

* Flag any items that seem inappropriate, from a cultural standpoint, for your region/nation/ program

* Highlight any obvious omissions in the document or, conversely, those items that need not have been included (please remember that the initial document produced at the symposium had to be condensed for publication)

* Describe efforts to utilize the document in policy discussions, curriculum development, and / or application to a particular child care or preschool program.

Work also continues on the Global Guidelines through the development of the Global Guidelines for the Education and Care of Young Children: Self Assessment Rating Scale. The Rating Scale was developed for early childhood educators in local settings to use as a self-assessment tool.

Development of the instrument began in the summer of 2000 when <ITL>Global Guidelines</ITL> items were adapted into a rating scale, using a range of five levels of quality indicators: inadequate, minimum, adequate, good, and excellent. Subsequently, the instrument was translated into Spanish and piloted in two early childhood centers in Chile. The first center--in Concepcion, Chile--is associated with the University of Concepcion. The second--in Vallenar, Chile--is a federally funded Junta Nacional de Jardines Infantiles center. The instrument was also piloted at three pre-school centers in San Antonio, Texas. One center is corporate sponsored, one is affiliated with a church, and the third is a Head Start program.

Feedback on the Rating Scale received from the participating centers was presented at the 2001 ACEI annual conference held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Following the discussion of the pilot study findings, the session participants were invited to continue implementation of the Rating Scale in ways that could contribute to the work of the Second International Symposium. Participants volunteered to acquire more information about the Global Guidelines by using the Rating Scale in the following countries: Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Venezuela, Honduras, Botswana, India, Germany, Estonia, the United States, and Canada (Ontario and Nova Scotia). In addition to the information requested on the call for reports described earlier in this article, volunteers have been asked for information on how (or if) the Rating Scale was useful or helpful to center personnel, as well as for a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of a center, by using rating scale categories and items.

It is gratifying and exciting to have so many willing and eager volunteers to carry on the work of the Global Guidelines. It is also encouraging to see how many countries will be reached through the efforts of ACEI members. Their contributions will be added to the work already accomplished by those who helped initiate and pilot the original draft of the Rating Scale. Special thanks go to Professor Maria Olivia Herrera, who translated the Global Guidelines into Spanish and helped develop and pilot the Rating Scale in Chile. Thanks also go to Blanche Desjean-Perrotta, who helped conduct the pilot studies in San Antonio. Center personnel who participated in piloting the instrument include the following:
Centro Desarrollo Integral del
Nino, Concepcion, Chile
 Monica San Martin, Director
 Alejandra Caamano, Pedagogical
 Educator

Rayita del Sol (Junta Nacional de
Jardines Infantiles), Vallenar, Chile
 Rosa Araya Guerrero, Director
 Clotilde Carvajal, Pedagogical
 Educator
 Rosa Requenta, Pedagogical
 Educator
 Patricia Kong, Pedagogical
 Educator
Bright Horizons (USAA) Child
Development Center
 Ellen Hartman, Director
Oak Hills Child Enrichment Center
(Oak Hills Presbyterian Church)
 Rose McIlherney, Director
Parent/Child Incorporated Head
Start Center (St. Phillips Community
College)
 Diana Castor, Director


As a result of the feedback from the pilot studies, the ACEI Planning Committee for the Second Symposium on Early Childhood and Care for the 21st Century, along with Audrey Curtis and Leah Adams (representing OMEP), met at the ACEI Conference in Toronto, and made vital suggestions on how to implement the Rating Scale. The group discussed and refined purposes for implementing the Rating Scale, as well as ways to implement the scale in other countries.

Further information on the Global Guidelines and the Second Symposium can be found at the Symposium Web site (www.ecec21.org), the ACEI Web site (www.acei.org), or in the recent Annual Theme and International Focus issues of Childhood Education. Information on using the Global Guidelines for the Education and Care of Young Children: Self Assessment Rating Scale also can be found in the Annual Theme 2001 issue of Childhood Education, or by contacting:

ACEI Symposium Chair Sue C. Wortham 2600 FM 3237 Wimberley, TX 78676 USA swortham@wimberley-tx.com

Sue C. Wortham is Professor Emerita, The University of Texas at San Antonio.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Second Symposium on Early Childhood Education and Care for the 21st Century
Author:Wortham, Sue C.
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Sep 22, 2001
Words:1069
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