Early childhood

The Issue

UNICEF in Action

Resources on Early Childhood Development


Teacher quality

© UNICEF / McConnico / 2011

Educators are those leading the teaching learning process and constitute the most important factor affecting the quality of ECE services, as continually is demonstrated in national and international analysis (OECD, 2010; Hanushek 2008; EU 2007.

Teacher quality may be the single most important school level factor influencing learning processes, families’ experiences with the school and student performances. The term ‘educators’ includes lead teachers and supporting staff that play a direct role in children’s learning in ECE centres.

‘Quality teachers are those that ‘use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities’ (UNICEF, 2000). Defining the precise characteristics of a successful early childhood education teacher is very difficult, however the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) identifies a list of successful educator practices or ‘principles’ that act as indicators for quality teachers.

These indicators help evaluate educator quality at the classroom level. However, there are also systemic issues outside the classroom that have a major impact on educator quality. These issues must be considered in reflecting on the quality of the early education systems.

Recommended tools for monitoring Quantitative and qualitative data on initial training, professional development, payment, career development, and working conditions are listed in the quality framework.



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