ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.369 Quality of early childhood education and care in Japanese accredited nursery centers: The implementation and challenges of quality assessment.

Keiko K. Fujisawa
Keio University・The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research
Taiyo Fukai
University of Tsukuba・Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office・The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research
Noriko Hiroi
Keio University
Makiko Nakamuro
Keio University・The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research

Abstract

This study presents the first quantitative evaluation of the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Japan using an internationally recognized quality rating scale for ECEC called the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, 3rd edition. We observed 30 classes comprising 3-year-olds, 28 classes comprising 5-year-olds, and 30 classes comprising mixed-ages from publicly provided nursery centers under the jurisdiction of the Kanto metropolitan area, Japan. In contrast to previous studies conducted in the US, the results of this study showed that the Japanese ECEC is characterized as showing higher scores in the two subscales, “Personal Care Routines” and “Interaction,” and showing lower scores in the subscale “Learning Activities.” In addition, this study showed that the quality of ECEC varied across nursery centers. Furthermore, with regard to the two subscales, “Interaction” and “Language and Literacy,” the degree of variation within centers differed across nursery centers. Despite the absence of particular interventions or support, we observed an overall increase in scores over the three years. The possibility of monitoring and achieving accountability for quality assurance while respecting the autonomous efforts to improve quality that is usually made in each institution is discussed.


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