Comparison between UNICEF and AFT summaries of 'Early Childhood Readiness' positions
'Early Childhood Readiness' involves preparing children to enter formal school through transition programs that teach them how to interact with the world outside their homes. Both UNICEF and AFT have positions on this topic. Although one is an international organization and the other restricted to operations within the United States, their stances hold many similarities that shed light on what aspects of early childhood programs are most important.
AFT mentions several identifying features these programs should contain, such as fostering communication between adults and children that will help children create strong bonds with mentors at formal levels. The organization also mentions positive reinforcement of skills relevant to later learning and the introduction of structured activities into a child’s daily life. UNICEF focuses more on the environment where the child is learning, and how capable it is of providing the necessary support and resources a child needs to thrive. Both organizations provide support information on their websites for early childhood readiness.
UNICEF takes a global approach, and stands behind three pillars: children’s readiness for school; schools’ readiness for children; and the readiness of families and communities. This means not only is the child building knowledge for their eventual foray into formalized education, but also parents, families, and communities are being educated as to the best ways to assist in the learning process. There is also much emphasis placed on avoiding gender discrimination, especially against females, and providing aid to disadvantaged communities. In a similar vein, AFT mentions the presence of community in its position, stating one of its goals is to encourage communication between children and adults that also involve families and caretakers. As membership grew in the late 1990’s, the organization pushed for plans to help schools offer extra kindergarten to ‘disadvantaged children’ (History, 2016).
The importance of these programs warrants their inclusion in social media networks. On UNICEF’s Youtube page (2003), with 78,000 subscribers, there are videos expanding on early childhood development; in areas fraught ‘conflict, violence, and climate-related disasters,’ these programs help children manage stress and avoid developing cognitive defects as a result of such emotional upheaval. AFT also has a Youtube page, but its subscriptions are less than 2,000 strong. While AFT offers a variety of videos on miscellaneous topics, it has more frequent updates on its Facebook page, with no dedicated sections on either website for early childhood programs.
Both organizations agree that the use of such programs lead to higher performance in formal education at later points in life. Each organization supports the concept of early childhood programs. Although one is more geared toward educating the community on the best way to serve the needs of the child, and one focuses on what the child itself should experience in order to succeed, they both have the best interests of the child at heart. Each organization has put a great deal of thought into what the end goal of early childhood programs should be: a child ready for success in school.
School Readiness. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2016, from http://www.aft.org/position/school-readiness
History. (n.d.). Retrived May 23rd, 2016, from http://www.aft.org/about/history
Early childhood education and school readiness. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2016, from http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_61627.html
The United Nations Children's Fund. [UNICEF]. 2013, Sep 25, . Emergency early childhood development programmes - saving children's lives, and futures. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PORBGbAuP4