In the United Kingdom, the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) is conducting a programme of work exploring how children’s outcomes can be impacted by the care and education they receive early in life
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As part of this programme of work, the EIF and RAND Europe have published a new report reviewing the impact of pedagogy and practice interventions in early years childcare.
What foundation of evidence supports early years pedagogy and practice?
The evidence review focuses on high-quality research studies that assessed the impact of early years pedagogy and practice interventions on child outcomes, including literacy and language, numeracy and mathematics, socio-emotional, physical and other cognitive outcomes. In addition, the report also looks at how sustainable these impacts are and in particular if children who are at risk of falling behind also benefit. In total, more than 100 articles were included in the review, covering over 80 teaching practices or programmes.
Overall, the majority of studies reported that teaching interventions positively impact child outcomes. However, these studies did not allow for more granular exploration of these impacts due to a range of reasons, such as a lack of a control group, no detailed description of the intervention or no analysis of the specific impacts on at-risk children. Additionally, it proved difficult to generalise the findings to a UK context as almost all of the studies were conducted in the United States.
This review is significant as it demonstrates the scale and breadth of important research conducted in this area. It also provides confirmation that many early years teaching interventions are positively impacting children. However, the report also highlights the need for more in-depth research into the effectiveness of these interventions, specifically investigating these effects in the UK context, the sustained impact and the impact on at-risk children, as well as providing more details about the interventions and their implementation.
Creating effective approaches to evaluating early years pedagogy and practice
The report highlights the opportunity for research to explore early years pedagogy and practice in more depth. In addition, it is important to develop robust approaches to evaluating these interventions once they have been implemented to ensure they are providing the intended benefit to children and allow for their continuous improvement.
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) has released several policy briefs on this topic, such as the quality and impact of centre-based early childhood education and care and the long-term effects of early childhood education on later educational and labour market outcomes.
This news item was written for the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC).