February 18, 2012

International Contacts - Alternative Assignment (Part 3)

As we draw near to the end of this course, we continue to reflect on issues and trends in the early childhood field. This week, those of us that chose the alternative assignment are exploring the webpage that links to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

As we studied throughout this course, we learned that one of the major problems in the field of early childhood is inequity. So as I explored UNESCO’s webpage, I found a link to a movement entitled “Education for All” or EFA (http://www.unescobkk.org/education/efa/). In this program, a global commitment has been made to provide quality basic education for all children, youth, and adults.  Over 100 governments have agreed upon the goals of this movement and they hope to achieve them by 2015. The EFA hopes to meet the following:
  1. Expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
  2. All children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances, and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to, and complete, free and compulsory primary education of high quality.
  3. Ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programs.
  4. Achieve 50 percent improvement in levels of adult literacy, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
  5. Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education and achieving gender equality in education, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of high quality.
  6. Improve all aspects of the quality and excellence of education, so measurable learning outcomes can be achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy, and essential life skills.

The webpage also pointed out resources that the organization is promoting throughout different countries. I explored a page out of Bangkok’s UNESCO office, and learned how the organization was targeting the Asia-Pacific Region to help parents and schools become better aware of the needs of children under 3. A conference was held in November 2011 and attended by representatives from 28 different countries to discuss the diverse needs of children throughout the region. The launch of the “Resource Package for 0-3” was a highlight in this conference. The package aims to aid policy makers, practitioners and parents by presenting a range of information on early childhood development for the under 3 age group. Hands-on workshops were also provided, along with resource materials, and policy consultations on post-2015 development and an education agenda between experts and delegates, were conducted.

UNESCO describes the importance of early childhood care and education here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002152/215271E.pdf   This is an important resource for parents and educators to be aware of the effects that early childhood care has on the development of children. According to UNESCO (2012), learning begins even before a child walks through a classroom door. Comprehensive early care and education fosters healthy growth, development, and learning of children birth through age 8. There are so many research studies that show children in high quality early care programs do better in school. We, as educators, need to advocate and support parents and families as they try to improve their child’s chances of success in the school-age years.

You can also find a copy of the UNESCO publication entitled “Parenting Education Guidebook”:

This is a great resource for families to learn how community, school, and family work together to support a child’s learning experiences. 


  1. Clara,
    It’s great to learn about yet another organization that is making an effort to ensure all children are receiving education. I will be curious to see how this project is evolves. The second goal highlight that “particularly girls” will get a high quality education. This caught my attention. I wonder why girls are the focus. After reading the six goals, this program will make an exceptional difference in the lives of children. I am eager to see what happens in 2015! I visited the website UNESCO resource, Parenting Guide. What a great tool for parents.

  2. Hi Clara, it is good to see so many organizations that are focusing on quality and helping the parents to have access to resources to build a better educational system for children all around the world. Thanks for the information

  3. Hello Clara!
    Excellent summary of the link! As an early childhood professional, I agree that it is essential that we support our parents and families. The parenting guide seems like a very useful tool in engaging with parents and families. Thanks for sharing!