Quality of early childhood education and care in Japanese accredited nursery centers: A study using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Third Edition (ECERS-3)

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Abstract

This study presents the first quantitative evaluation of the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Japan to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge accumulated on ECEC in countries where research has been limited. 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. An internationally-recognized quality rating scale for ECEC called the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, 3rd edition, which consists of six subscales, was used for this study. 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 score 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. This study analyzed how these characteristics of Japanese ECEC can be partly produced by the existence of national guideline for nursery centers authorized by the Japanese government. In addition, mechanisms producing differences in the quality of ECEC among and within centers were also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0281635
JournalPloS one
Volume18
Issue number2 February
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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