"The quality of preschool education is of vital importance not just for education but for the development of society as a whole," said Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva at a seminar System for Assessing and Improving the Quality of Preschool Education: Regional and International Experience. According to the expert, it is at this age that kids absorb the basic human values, traditions and ideas, learn the value of hard work, respect for other people, love of family, the place they come from and nature.
Ms. Karakchieva is of the opinion that the issues of preserving and improving the health of children, ensuring the right conditions for their development and education and supporting their talents by giving them the right opportunities to develop them are crucial and pretty much self-explanatory.
"Our country has huge experience in preschool education. Back in the 19th century the first free kindergarten was set up in Saint Petersburg", the expert said. "What makes our system unique is not that it's based on the principles of accessibility and free service that are part and parcel of state policy, but also the quality of our teacher training."
Today we're seeing the emergence of another element of the preschool education system: a system of independent assessment of the quality of preschool education, Ms. Karakchieva noted. Appreciating that in Russia preschool education does not only mean training and education per se but also include daycare and health services for children aged between 2 months and 7 years makes one realize the variety of tasks that must be taken into account when creating such an assessment system. For this reason, a variety of tools and experts is needed, in other words, while our country has national standards, the models for independent assessment of the quality of preschool education can and must be different, especially if the differences in development are taken into account. And here it's the regional and municipal level of government that can act as an important trigger.
On the other hand, experts need to be trained in independent assessment of preschool education, and trust and recognition of this type of assessment needs to be promoted both within the system of preschool education itself and among the parents and society as a whole.