Quality early childhood education (ECE) is today recognized internationally as providing a critical foundation impacting young children’s life course development and learning outcomes. Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies offers a significant contribution to raising awareness and improving understanding about the value of ECE, delivered through an accessible global platform.
The early childhood education (ECE) level of the resource is defined as ISCED level 0, according to UNESCO ISCED 2011 classification, and refers to early childhood programs that have an intentional educational component.
ISCED level 0 programs target children during the period prior to starting school or entering primary education (ISCED level 1). As the school starting age varies between countries, the ages of children covered by ECE programs differ from one country to the next. Typically, ECE programs aim to develop cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional skills necessary for participation in school and society. Programs classified at ISCED level 0 may be referred to in many ways, for example: early childhood education and development, playgroup, reception, preprimary, childcare, early childhood education and care (ECEC), preschool, or educación inicial. For international comparability purposes, the term “early childhood education” is used to label ISCED level 0.
For the purposes of this resource, the concept of “Early Childhood Education” (ECE) is defined as being the education of children before they start school. The age of starting school varies between countries, and global trends indicate that it could be anywhere between age 5 to 8 years. Regional or country specific definitions of ECE are clearly specified in each article.
For ease of reference, the words “Early Childhood Education” and “Early Childhood” and their acronyms (ECE and EC) are used interchangeably. The specific terminology and its meaning in clarifying how early childhood education is understood and implemented, is also contextualized for each country.
Manjula has an extensive track record spanning over three decades in the early childhood sector in a variety of roles comprising being a classroom practitioner, a parent, a policy analyst, an advocate, a teacher educator, an academic writer, and a researcher. She has a deep knowledge of early childhood and an enduring commitment to applied research by linking professional practice with emerging theory and policy reform. She has received invitations from various government departments (in Australia, Finland, Malaysia, and Singapore), non-government organizations and universities (in countries such as Estonia, Finland, Norway, South Africa) to explore quality matters, educational leadership, and professional development of early childhood sector staff. In 2014, Manjula was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Tampere, Finland, for her scholarly contributions to early childhood leadership. Her publications, containing a mix of solo articles and collaborative work with others comprise of ten books, thirty-three book chapters, thirty-six scholarly refereed articles, twenty-three commissioned reports, and twenty-three articles in professional journals. Manjula’s continuing interests in cross-cultural research have been built through international collaborations involving colleagues from diverse countries. She believes in diversity and social justice, and values learning through respectful conversations.