Evaluation report: Early childhood education plans provide good guidelines for early childhood education and care

FINEEC has evaluated early childhood education plans that guide the implementation of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in municipalities and private services. While early childhood education plans support the ECEC work fairly well, problems emerged in the quality of children’s individual early childhood education plans in particular. Based on the results, attention should also be paid to the equality of children in ECEC services as well as to the uniform quality of services.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Council (FINEEC) has evaluated the processes related to the implementation of local curricula for ECEC and their contents. The evaluation data were collected from municipal ECEC providers as well as private service providers and organisers. The report has been published in Finnish and can be uploaded here

According to the evaluation results, the plans guiding ECEC support the work fairly well. However, the evaluation revealed qualitative problems particularly connected to children’s individual early childhood education plans, which failed to promote the pedagogical development of ECEC in the best possible way at the local level. According to the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, an individual early childhood education plan must be prepared for each child.

  • While the purpose of children’s individual early childhood education plans is to set goals for activities, the evaluation indicated that children’s plans continue to describe children’s competence in a rather problem-oriented way and few aims had been set for the pedagogical activities of staff, explains Counsellor of Evaluation Laura Repo.

According to the evaluation, the preparation of local curricula for ECEC was hindered by tight schedules and a lack of resources. The evaluation group also notes that the local curricula for ECEC should guide the daily practice in a more concrete way. Indeed, the implementation of the local curricula appears to be still incomplete in municipalities and private ECEC services.

The results of the evaluation give rise to considering whether equity and equality are realised in ECEC services. The evaluation highlighted regional differences; for instance, participation in staff training was more smoothly implemented in urban municipalities compared to densely populated or rural municipalities. In rural and densely populated municipalities, problems emerged due to the fact that training was often provided far away and getting a substitute was difficult.

  • There is also reason to consider how well the steering system succeeds in serving the different forms of service of early childhood education and care, such as family daycare, notes Virpi Mattila, the chair of the evaluation group.

Implementing the local curricula became compulsory for ECEC providers in the autumn of 2017. The currently published evaluation is the first national evaluation on early childhood education and care carried out by FINEEC. In 2018-2019, FINEEC will evaluate the implementation of the curricula in groups of children. The results of the evaluation report will be published at a seminar organised by FINEEC on 25 October 2018 at 9–15.30. More information on the event (in Finnish) can be found here.

Further information:

Chair of the Assessment Group, Director of Finnish Early Education in the City of Espoo Virpi Mattila, tel. +358 9 816 23300 Counsellor of Evaluation Laura Repo, tel. +358 29 533 5553, laura.repo@karvi.fi, FINEEC