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Comparing quality of childcare and kindergarten centres: The need for a strong and equal partnership in the Greek early childhood education system

The purpose of this study was to examine whether kindergartens and childcare centres differ in terms of educational and caregiving components. More specifically, two aspects of the process quality of the early childhood education and care were examined regarding the 'Activities' and the 'Programme Structure'. A multi-stage sampling technique was applied to recruit a national representative sample from the Greek early childhood education system. A total of 535 early childhood classrooms from kindergarten and childcare programmes participated in the study, together with 4158 children. The quality of the participating classrooms was evaluated with the use of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) edition. Results showed a medium-quality picture from both the kindergarten and childcare classrooms. Explanations are provided regarding the statistically significant differences between the two types of preschool programmes. This study attempts to initiate a discussion about the need to build a strong and equal partnership between kindergarten and childcare programmes and to move towards a more coherent approach in the Greek early childhood education system. (author abstract)
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