A Report on the Progress of the International Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care

Article excerpt


On July 4-8, 1999, 75 delegates from 17 countries met at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, to attend the International Symposium on Early Childhood Education and Care for the 21st Century. The symposium, sponsored by ACEI and OMEP (World Organization for Early Childhood Education), was planned over a period of three years, with meetings conducted at ACEI conferences in Minneapolis, Portland, and Tampa, and at OMEP conferences in Mexico City and Copenhagen. Leah Adams and Ulla Grob-Menges co-chaired the symposium for OMEP, and I chaired for ACEI. ACEI was represented by 31 delegates and recorders. Delegates also represented OMEP and other early childhood organizations with international interests.

Symposium delegates were divided into seven working groups representing different countries and continents. The groups developed guidelines for the following topics:

* Overall philosophy, goals, and policies

* Environment and physical space

* Curriculum content and pedagogy

* Early childhood educators and caregivers

* Young children with special needs

* Partnership with families/ communities

* Accountability, supervision, and management

When the working groups were first assembled to begin their task, they had general guidelines to follow, along with working papers and a multitude of resources to guide their efforts. At the end of the symposium, each working group submitted a draft copy for further editing. Each working group selected an editor to represent them in the process of further shaping the guidelines and preparing them for dissemination.

After the conference, work continued on the guidelines through the efforts of the major editors (Leah Adams, Sue Wortham, Audrey Curtis [President of OMEP], and Mary Jalongo) and the seven working group editors. …