It is impossible to imagine a child’s cognitive and social development without early childhood education and care services and institutions. However, it has not always been like that; although kindergartens and nurseries were already established in the 19th century in several countries, mass children’s education became widespread only in the 1960s (Kamerman, 2006). Only due to the ECEC movement, children nowadays receive early education and care. What is more, their parents can work in the meantime.
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A noticeable development of the movement started with the UNESCO memorandum of 1939. It reflected “the need for childcare facilities for the growing numbers of working mothers and stressed the value of preschool, which it stated, should be available to all children” (Kamerman, 2006, p. 4). It was a huge recognition and help for mothers, and, at the same time, they wanted their children to be educated. Fortunately, the UNESCO memorandum of 1961 stressed the vital role of education along with the provision of early childhood care services. From that moment on, mothers could take care of the money, while the services are taken care of their child’s development and education. Since 1974, the intellectual development and cognitive stimulation of children have become one of the primary goals.
Speaking about mothers and children in developing countries, the movement history reflected by UNESCO has always acknowledged the issue of ECEC’s potential unavailability for all working mothers. In the 1970s, preschools in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were mostly private. In 1974, UNESCO and the World Organization for Early Childhood Education Survey stressed that they were also generally less developed (Kamerman, 2006). The Jomtien and Dakar Declarations started powerful campaigns for education for all, which resulted in the World Conference on Education for All and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Thanks to this movement’s efforts in 1990-1995, preschool education became a legal right, and it was a huge breakthrough.
In conclusion, it is essential to note that it was only through the movement’s efforts that universal preschool education focusing on children’s intellectual development and cognitive stimulation became possible. One of the most essential advantages of the widespread distribution of kindergartens in the early socialization of children. For parents worldwide, the ECEC movement has borne fruit in the form of an opportunity to work and make money for the family.
Kamerman, S.B., (2006). A global history of early care and education. Web.