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Play, create and learn: What matters most for five-year-olds?

  2. Rationale for this work Implications for early learning systems Key findings What’s next for early years work in the OECD? An overview 1 3 2 4
  3. Early years development in focus Increasing interest in children’s early learning outcomes arises from: Concerns about uneven quality of ECEC provision. Desire to improve equity for disadvantaged children. Growing realisation that early learning improves later success in school and child well-being. Increasing investment in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).
  4. We know early development predicts adult outcomes (Source: Bartik, 2014) 30.0 25.0 20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 End-of-programme test scores Third grade test scores Adult outcomes Abecedarian Perry Head Start CPC Predicted percentage effects on adult earnings of early childhood programmes, based on test scores versus adult outcomes.
  5. An holistic approach is most effective ADULTHOOD EARLY CHILDHOOD AND CHILDHOOD Language and Literacy Numeracy Visual-Motor Skills Attachment Social Well-Being Emotional Health Self-Regulation LIFE OUTCOMES • General well-being • Life satisfaction • Physical and mental health • Educational achievement • Employment, income, socio-economic status • Citizenship
  6. Are we here? Or here? Or not doing well at all? "How are children really doing?" "Are all groups of children getting a strong early start?" "Is our early learning system really making a difference for children?" Data is critical to improving children’s outcomes
  7. Why are the views of children important? • Enjoyment of early learning environments influences children’s development and dispositions to later schooling. • Children are the best judges of how well their learning environments work for them. • Information from children helps education leaders and practitioners to provide positive early learning environments.
  8. We have seen that children can clearly express their views
  10. What do five-year-olds like best about their ECEC centre or school? "What do you like best about your centre or school?"
  11. Findings based on more than 4 500five-year-olds from England and Estonia
  12. Key findings "I like to do everything: play, to do activities, to go outside." • Children are overwhelmingly positive about their early learning environments. • They like many things. • Very few would prefer to be at home.
  13. What children like most … Playing Making and creating Learning Being physically active Resting and eating Being with their friends and teachers Having choice over what they do
  14. Playing Playing was the most common response from children. 4out of 10 five-year-olds say it is the best part of being at their ECEC centre or school.
  15. And playing is fun! Playing supports children’s development Playing helps children to: • Build social connections with other children. • Learn to co-operate and negotiate. • Develop their language skills.
  16. "I like sledding with my friends and also sharing toys with each other." Children like different types of play Playing games 14% Playing with toys 36% Playing outdoors 8% Pretend play 6% Playing indoors 2% Playing with sand 1% Playing with friends 34%
  17. Children also like making and creating GIRLS Drawing RANK BOYS 1 Building Building 2 Drawing Colouring 3 Making crafts Music 4 Colouring Making crafts 5 Painting Painting 6 Music Modeling clay 7 Dance Dance 8 Modeling clay
  18. "Playing with the LEGO - making a ship and a house." Opportunities to be creative foster specific skills Engaging in creative arts in early childhood fosters: • Creativity • Innovation • Problem-solving. The use of building blocks and other building materials has been linked to later mathematical abilities.
  19. Girls tend to prefer art and crafts, rather than building Favourite things to do at ECEC centres and schools: Mentioned by girls on average Mentioned by boys on average Arts and crafts 13% 6% Building and construction 2% 7%
  20. Learning Five-year-olds who mentioned enjoyment of learning: Girls Boys 13% 11% Top SES 12% Bottom SES 10% Learning was the 3rd most popular choice among five-year-olds. "Learning new complicated stuff because it's hard first then you get better and better."
  21. Mental flexibility 14 34 31 Enjoyment of learning is linked to early skill development The difference between mean scores of children who like learning best and mean scores of children overall 0 20 40 60 80 Mean scores of children who like learning best, compared to the overall mean for children. Emergent literacy Emergent numeracy Working memory Empathy 67 1 2 3 27 34 56 Prosocial Non-disruptive Trust behaviour behaviour 31
  22. Children like learning … Language and literacy learning 1 2 3 Followed by numeracy "I love learning and it makes me smart." 2 1
  23. Being physically active is slightly more popular with boys than girls Popularity of sport and exercise among boys and girls: 7% 4% Boys Girls "I like to go on the big field because there is a lot of space to run."
  24. Favourite physical activities Children’s favourite ways of being physically active at ECEC/school: • Physical education • Running • Going for a walk • Football • Climbing.
  25. 5 Eating and resting is top-of-mind for many five-year-olds The 5th most popular activity of five-year-olds is eating and resting. For some children, the focus is on having a break from organised activities, while for other children, food seems to be the most important point. "To play, to eat and to sleep."
  26. Being with their friends and teachers is also valued by five-year-olds Five-year-olds who mentioned friends: 10% Mentioned playing with friends Mentioned friends with no reference to playing 3.5% "I like my teacher because she is so nice. She is very kind and helps people in my class."
  27. Children also like having choice Another popular preference among five-year-olds is having some choice over what they do. "It's fun because when it's Choosing Time you get to do what you want to do."
  28. 37 30 24 50 15 12 3 48 Mean scores of children who like having choice best, compared to the overall mean for children. Mental flexibility 0 20 40 60 80 Emergent literacy Emergent numeracy Working memory Empathy Prosocial Non-disruptive Trust behaviour behaviour Children who like having choice have higher cognitive and social-emotional development than other children 1 2 3 The difference between mean scores of children who like having choice best and mean scores of children overall
  29. Provide ample opportunities for children to play. Enable children to make and create their own designs and structures. Engage children in developmentally- appropriate learning, such as language-related and emergent numeracy activities. Support children to have some level of control over the activities they undertake. Implications – to keep children engaged 1 2 3 4
  30. Conclusions • Children can and should be able to express their views on their early learning environments. • Their views can inform policy and practice decisions. • Regular collection of children’s views, alongside development data, supports education leaders and practitioners to provide positive early learning environments.
  31. What’s next for early years work at the OECD • The 2nd cycle of the International Early Learning and Child Well-being is now open to countries/ sub-national jurisdictions to join. • New analysis is focused on risk and resilience in the early years. What can we learn from IELS data on how to create a strong start for every child? • Other current work includes the implications of digitalisation for Early Childhood Education and Care.
  32. Is there a trade-off between play and learning? How do education systems know they are getting the right balance? Panel discussion How important is it to collect children’s views? What are your recommendations to education leaders and practitioners on this? How does being creative and making things support children’s development?