What is Early Childhood Care and Education?
Numerous studies of neuroscience pointed to the marked significance of early childhood period that we define here as the period from three to eight years of age. This period establishes the individuals' physical, social, emotional and mental development as these faculties or domains go through interdependent and interleaved processes where the development level of each stage depends on the previous levels of development.
Ministry of Education, in recognition of the various demands of young learners, and in continuation of its approach to improve performance and to enhance work plans, works to build an institutional structure that adapts with the target establishment of young children schooling system that prepare learners for higher education levels, and in commitment to the statement in the ministry organizational guide released by Council of Ministers decision no. 511 dated 06-05-2019.
The general objective of the Early Childhood General Department which is part of agency of general education is focusing on working to provide distinguished education for children from the age of three to their primary school third year and to track the performance of the early childhood level system through the approved indicators to prepare learners to join primary school, all this shall be achieved through implementing the following:
First - Implementing a set of initiatives dedicated to early childhood:
- Initiative for development and nationwide expansion of kindergartens, which incorporates programs and projects aiming to achieve the strategic objectives of ensuring quality, equitable and inclusive education for all, and increase opportunities for lifelong learning for all. Total enrollments at kindergarten schools will be the key performance indicator for measurement towards this objective. This initiative prime target is to increase children enrollment from 17% to 95% by 2030.
- Early childhood care and education quick wins initiative, which aims to utilize human, material and financial resources to support achieving ministry enrollment target and to assign boys primary school early levels to female teachers by the beginning of the academic year 2020.
Second - Implementing a set of projects that support achieving ministry objectives:
- Establishment of a children channel that utilize visual media of the Ministry of Education.
- Further develop the bylaws and regulations of early childhood period.
- Experts capacity building in early childhood care and education.
- Building and running of preschools and kindergartens.
- Conducting research and studies on early childhood initiatives and projects.
Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS):
Seeking of continuous improvement of early childhood education through Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS), ECERS measurements conducted by partnership with King Abdulaziz University. The aim is to improve educational environment quality practices of kindergartens, public and private, in all their facets, according to the scientific method and through a codified instrument.
Management of Child Abuse Protection Program:
In collaboration with AGFUND and UNICEF, targeting to strengthen personal safety values and skills of children and their educators, parents and caregivers through provision of a healthy educational environment and promotion of preventive skills against all types of abuse and negligence.
Mother and Child Enrichment Program:
A program which aim to help mothers help their children gain the fundamental mental, bodily, emotional and social skills most essential and critical to child development at the age of five. The program serves two purposes at once, it provides enrichment and awareness to aid the mother at upbringing their children and compensates those children who could not enroll at kindergarten level.
Early Childhood Education Learning Standards of Kingdom for 3 to 6 years old children:
These standards aid institutions and community segments directly involved in child care and education in realizing and recognition of what children are expected to learn and what are they expected to do or apply. This standards document is a descriptive guide of sets of knowledge items, behaviors and skills that a child might gain, which will contribute heavily to the development of child character in their future learning stages towards becoming a good citizen and an effective aid in national production.