Preschool Education Today: New Challenges, New Approachess
V. V. Rubtsov*,
Doctor in Psychology, member of the
Russian Academy of Education, the head
of the Psychological Institute of the Russian
Academy of Education, the rector of the
Moscow State University of Psychology and
E. G. Yudina** ,
Ph. D. in Psychology, leading researcher,
the head of Psychological issues of tea-
chers’ training laboratory of the Moscow
State University of Psychology and Educa-
of Preschool Education
The paper deals with early childhood care and education (ECCE) issues
to be discussed at the UNESCO World Conference on 27–29 September
2010. The authors recognize and analyze key trends in the development
of preschool education in different countries and offer a well-substantiated
approach to the related issues.
The paper studies two opposite models of education in early childhood and
shows major implications of each of the existing approaches. A special
emphasis is laid on the development of a unified comprehensive system of
preschool and primary school education. The authors firmly believe that the
“junction point” between those two education stages is a critical and, in many
respects, a testing element for the entire national system of early childhood
education in different countries.
A general analysis of current preschool education programs is provided
and their impact on the age-specific development of children is discussed.
The authors emphasize the significance and a special role of child-centered
interaction between adults and children as well as play as a part of the
development-oriented preschool education. The training of teachers for early
childhood education is also discussed.
Keywords: preschool education; two models of early childhood care and
education; continuity of preschool and school education; “frame” and
“prescriptive” programs; development-oriented program of early childhood
care and education; play; training of preschool teachers.
V. V. Rubtsov, E. G. Yudina
On 27–29 September Moscow will host
UNESCO World Conference on Early Child-
hood Care and Education (ECCE). As follows
from the name of the conference, it will deal with
the education of preschool children (from birth to
age 7 or 8). Early childhood development issues
have recently aroused keen interest throughout
the world. Per The United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child, early childhood de-
velopment is a multidisciplinary science. It em-
braces health care issues, nutrition, education,
social sciences, economics, children advocacy
and their social well-being .
Per UNESCO definition, “Early Child-
hood Care and Education (ECCE) supports
children’s survival, growth, development and
learning – including health, nutrition and hy-
giene, verbal and cognitive, social, physical,
esthetic and emotional development – from
birth to primary school in formal, informal and
non-formal settings 1.”
ECCE approach calls for an adequate
standard of life for children of early age; it is
also important for the development of adults. It
helps them become healthy, socially and eco-
logically responsible, intellectually competent
and economically efficient 2.
In this connection, the efforts of the inter-
national community to make the implementa-
tion of an early-age child’s right for a struc-
tured, comprehensive education acquire a
high priority 3; these efforts are aimed at creat-
ing a system of ECCE in the developing coun-
tries. Current research has shown that the
implementation of educational projects in such
countries, even without noticeable social and
cultural changes, may significantly affect the
potential development of early-age children
(See, for example ). It is worth noting that
developed countries are not free either from
problems related to building of a preschool
education system; some of them will be dis-
cussed further on.
It is not merely incidental that the first ever
World Conference on the education of children
at early age will be held in Russia. Compre-
hensive education in the majority of developed
countries (mainly, European countries and the
US) traditionally began at the age of 7 or 8;
early education has never been considered as
something warranting a deliberate governmen-
tal effort. Rather, it was viewed as a family con-
cern. As a result, until recently, a systematic
preschool education was absent in the educa-
tion systems of the majority of developed coun-
tries; at best, a family was offered a choice of
certain education services available in the mar-
ket. In recent decades, a concept of isolated,
segmentary education services mostly related
to care and supervision is gradually replaced
by an understanding that this period is crucially
significant in the development of a child and,
consequently, that it is necessary to incorpo-
rate preschool education into the national edu-
cation system as its important part.
Russia, traditionally, starting from the 20’s
of the last century, has had a government-fund-
ed system of public (though not mandatory)
early childhood care and education, that same
system that now many of the developed and
developing nations are planning to establish.
Recognizably, preschool education in the
USSR was mostly oriented towards the inte-
rests of the Soviet system rather than towards
the interests of the child; therefore, it had to
be reformed, especially in terms of its con-
tent 4. Nevertheless, an unquestionable ad-
vantage of preschool education at that time
lay in its systematic, continuous character as
well as in its genuine accessibility based on
governmental funding. Russia’s experience in
building such a system with an updated con-
tent might be useful for the international com-
munity. Besides, the priority of early childhood
education in Russia is supported by the Educa-
tion, a national project of the Russian Federa-
1 Global Monitoring Report. Strong foundation: early childhood care and education. Global Report on Monitor-
ing of Education for All, 2007.
3 For more detailed information on early childhood rights refer to: General Comment 7. Implementing Child
Rights in Early Childhood (Fortieth session, 2005), U.N. Doc. CRC/C/GC/7/Rev.1 (2006). http://www1.umn.edu/
4 Certain steps towards such reformed content were made in the post-Soviet period; from our point of view,
many of them could be considered successful.
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