We recently had the privilege of hosting a meeting of renowned international experts in early childcare service quality at the IDB’s office in Washington, DC, to discuss childcare quality for children ages 0-3.

The group reflected on two topics that frequently come up in discussions with programs that offer childcare services in the region. Which factors define childcare service quality? And, how can we measure and monitor them?

The dialogue was too rich to fully summarize in this small space. So instead, I’ll just comment on one topic that was the focus of a panel discussion. The experts agreed on the importance of high-quality interactions between children and their caregivers, particularly for the 0-3 age group. Several points were raised that are worth sharing:

  1. Studies of interactions between children ages 0-3 and their caregivers have found that they are far too infrequent.
  2. Most childcare centers do not put enough emphasis on ensuring consistency in interactions, such that children always interact with the same adult.
  3. Individualized care is critically important for this age-group; but instead, providers tend to relate to children in groups or classes (as in a school setting).
  4. Some of the characteristics of high-quality interactions include: warmth; sufficient frequency and engagement; inclusiveness, meaning that every child is involved; plenty of verbal communication; and minimal interruptions or distractions when children are exploring their environment.

What do you think? Where do you think we should focus our efforts to ensure that children in childcare centers in Latin America and the Caribbean get the high-quality interactions they need?

Blog Caridad2

blog caridad1

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  • Federico

    Ratios of child to early childhood educator are often used. The Day Nurseries Act in Ontario offers an example of this.

    Additional lessons from the Early Learning and Child Care sector in Ontario, Canada that may help inform this can be found through the HighScope learning methodology and the Early Development Instrument which measures 5 core domains for children to attain before the age of 6 to ensure cognitive and learning readiness.

    • María Caridad Araujo

      Thank you Federico, this is a great resource for us and for our readers!

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