One may ask, why focus on early childhood education? It has been proven in numerous studies that the early years of any child’s life have a formative impact on their learning, development, future health as well as well-being. This forms the justification for this paper. It begins by exploring what exactly ECEC is in various contexts. It then goes on to give a background of the issue, highlighting various theories and schools of thought on the subject. Next, it discusses the Early Childhood Education and Care sector in the Australian context. In this section, the paper also highlights the different ECEC service types, particularly LDC, FDC, OSHC, IHC, preschool, Occasional care as well as the non-mainstream ECEC services. Next, it goes on to discuss the problems hindering the provision of quality ECEC services in Kenya. It then goes ahead to explain the role of Government in the provision of high quality education in general, and in ECEC sector in particular, with a focus on how Government intervention affects disadvantaged children. Then, the paper goes into highlighting the specific roles of the Australian as well as State and Territory governments in the ECEC sector, and how regulation can ensure the provision of high-quality ECEC services to all children, regardless of their family background. Introduction The level of student success in today’s education context is determined by a wide range of factors. This paper seeks to focus on the socio-economic status as a factor in student achievement, with a focus on the Early Childhood Education and Care sector in Australia. It is proven that the early years of any child’s life have a formative impact on their learning, development, future health as well as well-being. If the child is exposed to positive experiences in their formative years, it will also have positive outcomes in their future (Waldfogel, 2007). Research has revealed that, despite its importance, the level of quality of ECEC services may not be as high as it ought to be. This is mainly caused by disjointed policy approaches and information asymmetry among other factors. These issues have been discussed in more detail further into the paper. However, the government of any nation has a responsibility to ensure that the quality of ECEC services to all the state’s children, regardless of economic background, as the adequate provision of this has bearing on economic development through adequate workforce participation (Smart, Sanson, Baxter, Edwards and Hayes, 2008). Definition of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Waldfogel (2007) reveals that early childhood education can simply be defined as the process of administering formal teaching and care of children by people who are not part of their family, or is outside their respective home setting. Early childhood refers to the age before normal schooling, that is, between birth and five years of age. However, this definition varies between different nations: for example, the United States National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines early childhood as before the age of eight (Waldfogel, 2007). Background A child’s needs in the early years are very different from those of older children. This is because early childhood sees the greatest growth and development. The stages are such that the brain develops ...
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