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This statement emphasises on the importance of availability of data for policy and decision making for children development and wellbeing. Data are facts of information, especially when observed and used to find out things or to make decision (Oxford advanced learner's dictionary, 2007, p.387). Data are viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which information and knowledge are derived.
I believe that the absence of reliable baseline available (comparable) data hinder the development of evidence based policies for children. Rigorous evaluations with associated data collection on children needs are needed to assess the sustainability of policy-based intervention in the long run. Data plays the role of backbone in any policy and decision making process and can only provide a solid base for intervention in early childhood policies. Therefore for improving outcomes for children in policy and political interest, we (government, caregiving centers' administrators, educators) need to develop a coordinated and ongoing national approach for collecting data and developing indicators.
II. Key concept: The newly emerged field of child psychology identified the importance of early experiences upon latter learning and healthy development (Hayden, 2000, p.63).
In infancy learning gets start long before formal education commences and continues throughout life. According to Heckman (2004) "Early learning begets later learning and early success breeds later success, just as early failure breeds later failure". During early childhood, success or failure set the position for success or failure in school, ultimately leading to success or failure in post-school learning. Most early childhood educators focus on cognitive skills as measured by achievement of IQ tests but they exclude the critical importance of social skills such as dealings with peers and elders. I believe that social skills along with discipline should also be considered as determinants for success in life.
In my opinion high quality interventions in early childhood development have lasting effects on learning and motivation. So a corrective view of ability is that children are developed in a variety of learning situations and the early ability results in enhanced learning (Heckman, 2004).
Part - b
The Australian society multicultural composition (CCCH AEDI report, 2009) motivates me to study and learn more about the cultural impacts on pedagogical policies related to children development. Through intended study I would be able to get answer of some of the below key guided questions.
1. What are developmental norms and goals for children's learning and development?
2. Whose cultural values and methods for socializing children and transmitting knowledge drive the creation and choice of curricula for early learning programs?
3. What effect does (or will) such policy (or program) have for diverse families?
4. Will it help or hurt, strengthen or weaken family life?
Part - C
In Australia, children are culturally diverse because Australian society is an animated multicultural society (CCCH AEDI report, 2009). Reliable and comprehensive data support and contribute in adopting evidence-based approach for developing policies for children. In the field of early childhood learning and development, when interpreting the data and statistics results special consideration of the demographics and 'cultural sensitivity' should be a common advice and few would argue with it (Gonzalez-Mena & Eyer, 2004). The data and statistics reports always have a close link to and foundation for early childhood policy and politics.
"Australia is a vibrant multicultural society and our children are culturally diverse" (CCCH AEDI report, 2009). In Australia, there is a growing awareness that many people and groups live in the society are marked by diversity (National Multicultural Advisory Council, 1997). They live together but have different standards and values as well as ideas about raising their children. Early childhood education and services are influenced by diversity in families, standards and values. A family comprises of both parents and children and in a multicultural society it may happens that the parents have different ethnic heritage or the children are culturally different from their parents. The identity of such children is influenced by the parental attitudes, the society's attitudes, and particularly racist attitudes towards multicultural individuals.
Early childhood educators can endorse the positive development of multiethnic children. They should not lump together children of different ethnicities as generically multiracial instead manage each child according to his or her unique characteristics. Families have their own wishes for their children identification; therefore early childhood educators can learn and should honor their wishes. Classification of identifications ranges from "human" and "multiracial" to "monoracial," indicating that the family has chosen only a single heritage for their children (Miller & Rotheram-Borus, 1994).
Every day early childhood educators face new questions and challenges relating to multicultural children's development. In early childhood education who will decide how to raise the children? What we can do for children? How to tackle with these different standards and values? How to communicate with the diversity of parents?
An article 'Culture and Early Childhood Learning' (Ball, 2010) underlines the same concept of diverse families' children development. The author emphasizes on open-ended dialogical engagement with communities that can bring knowledge and tools from research along with local knowledge which can determines the approaches to address culturally defined goals for children's early learning and development. Cultures change over times therefore we as investigators, policy makers and practitioners should leave room for culturally diverse families to re-invent themselves in their own image.
In policy planning for children development the positive parental involvement such as sharing ideas in curriculum development, can assist the provision of best care and education of the child (Ebbeck & Waniganayake, 2004, p.156).
These readings inferred that the 21st century has made it probably evident that almost everywhere the early childhood is high on the political agenda amongst parents, childcare workers, kindergartens, primary teachers and professionals (OECD, 2001). This topic also considers some of the existing knowledge of understandings of the students about early childhood policy and politics.
The child psychology identified the importance of early experiences upon latter learning and healthy development (Hayden, 2000) is duly recognised in Australia. All events in the early years of a child life mould his/her all learning and life experience. Family has a major influence on a child's life but the influence of the early years educational opportunities are just as powerful as family influence rather in some ways more powerful. Therefore it is the influence of early childhood education that establishes the attitude a child adopt in his/her formal schooling. So the policies developed for children development, health and wellbeing must take into consideration early childhood learning opportunities.
There is a need of timely, comprehensive and accurate indicators and data for maintaining a policy agenda for children and getting better long-term results. Only accurate and reliable data can provide a clear picture of early childhood development outcomes in Australia. The results of data and statistics provide information on all communities around Australia and how children (belong to these communities) have developed by the time they start school, across different areas of early childhood development, health and wellbeing. Relevant and reliable data is needed for policy-making related to children (of all communities) development and wellbeing.
All stakeholders such as government, caregiving centers' administrators, educators and parents should ensure quality-learning opportunities for all children and should respect their families' diverse norms. Policies developed for children should support children and their families to protect culture heterogeneity. Freedom should be provided to diverse families to preserve and practice their own image and not through the absence of choice.