Early Childhood Education has become significantly prominent in educational policy in recent years. Much research has been published in regards to theories and curriculum models and this has led to formal influences on Curriculum policy in many countries including New Zealand and Wales. This essay reviews the influence of policy on education and compares and contrasts the implementation, philosophies and principles of the New Zealand Te Whāriki Curriculum and the Welsh Foundation Phase Curriculum.
Baldock et al, defines policy as “An attempt by those working inside an organisation to think in a coherent way about what it is trying to achieve (either in general or in relation to a specific issue) and what it needs to do to achieve it.” (Baldock et al, 2005:3) This essay reviews policy in regards to Early Childhood Education, specifically focussing on the effects and influences that it has had on Welsh and New Zealand Early Childhood education in the past 15 years and in particular the implementation of the Welsh Foundation Phase and the New Zealand Te Whāriki curriculum frameworks.
Policy itself can influence whether a subject is in favour or not and changes in attitudes towards such policy can make a significant difference to society. Early Childhood Education has become popular in recent years and has often appeared on government agendas. Woodhead summarises the effects that policy is having on Early Childhood education at the moment: “Enhancing the quality of young children’s lives is now a national and international priority, expressed through research and policy initiatives, programme development and advocacy. Improving early childhood education and care is a major theme.” (Woodhead, 2006:4)
There are many influences on Early Childhood policy and Woodhead breaks down these influences into four categories:
1. Developmental Perspective.
2. Political and Economical Perspective.
3. Social and Cultural Perspective