- New Directions for Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21st Century: International Perspectives
As the importance of early childhood education continues to rise, New Directions for Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21stCentury: International Perspectives provides a comprehensive look at the structure and management of early childhood education in culturally diverse settings. The purpose of this book, as outlined by the editors, is to focus on several issues that plague the field of early childhood education. Issues such as the globalization of education, gender equality, and declining birthrates affect how early childhood education is promoted and supported throughout industrialized and pre-industrialized nations. In addition to these issues, the authors look specifically at the structure of early childhood programs, such as extended day, preschool and day-care as well as the population of those who are utilizing these services.
This text consists of eleven chapters which explore early childhood education and child care in countries such as the United States, Japan and Britain. There are a variety of contributors to this book who provide a unique look at the political, cultural and ethnic issues that impact the care of young children internationally. The format of each chapter varies, as some contributors summarize present and past research and others focus more on the curricular and historical changes that impact how young children are educated. Even with this diverse format, each chapter thoroughly presents and subsequently analyzes the aforementioned topics in a clear and concise manner.
Chapter 1 focuses on Korea and the current trends that affect early childhood education and child-care. The reader is offered a brief review on background information, such as the changing nature of family structure and women’s participation in the economy, which has drastically affected the ability of early childhood kindergartens to care for this changing demographic. At the close of the chapter, current education policy and support is discussed as well as the future perspective of this country’s early childhood education system.
The second chapter highlights the administrative systems of China. An honest look at the difficulties in the development of China’s early childhood education programs gives the reader a glimpse of the global background with which to review the multi-sectoral cooperation [End Page 111] system that is explained in this chapter. The author provides an outline of this system, which is based in a theoretical perspective that the Chinese government has undertaken to reform and restore its early childhood education.
The authors of chapter 3 offer that this chapter will provide the background of early childhood education in Taiwan and will present the new directions for the 21st century. As promised, the reader is provided with a review of the issues that have affected the education of Taiwan’s youngest citizens, such as the rights of children, mothers and women and the curriculum concerns that have driven changes in this country’s services to young children. Legislation that provides for parental leave and incentives for creating quality childcare facilities are discussed which have changed the identity of early childhood education in Taiwan. The author ends the chapter with a short presentation on how the culture of the 21st century will impact the direction of early childhood education.
Chapter 4 provides a look at how globalization has forever changed how young children are educated in Japan. Information technology is presented as a major force of change in the education of young children. The author defines information technology as “a combination of technology and electronics, or the information culture society, which results in the coming of the techno-electronic era” (p. 76). This technology has not specifically resulted in changes in the methods by which young children are educated, but in how it has interrupted and made more difficult the effective education of this demographic. Based upon this and other issues, such as economic strain and the declining birthrate, Japan has responded with a reform...