Choose two countries and compare their approaches to early childhood care and education. This essay will introduce and compare approaches to early childhood care and education in Denmark and Ireland. It will specifically focus on comparing the pedagogical approach, curriculum content and the inclusion of ethnic minority children aged 0-6 years attending early childhood settings in both countries. Provision of Services
As one of the oldest nations within Europe, Denmark has made the welfare of families with children top priority within government. Under their Social Services Act, matters’ relating to the care and education of children is broken down. The Ministry of Social Services is responsible for day care facilities – dagtilbud, while the Ministry of Education is responsible for pre-school services – bornehaveklasse, primary and lower secondary and afterschool services and forest kindergartens are also available. These services are based on the rights of children outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (OECD, 2000). In Denmark children are not required to enter the primary school sector until they are seven years old. In Ireland, there has been very little funding and resources into the development of childcare provisions with many working families relying on family members or child-minders filling the gap. Full day care exists at a cost and sessional services either morning or afternoon are in operation. In 2010, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs introduced a voluntary, universal free pre-school year for children aged three years and two months and less than four years and seven months. For the year 2010/11, over 94% of eligible children were participating in the scheme (Dept. of Education & Skills, 2011). While it is compulsory for children to enter the primary education system at six years old, it is relevant to note that many children enter the system in the September, following their fourth birthday...
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