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Abstract

Much importance is given to Early Childhood Education in Qatar. Primarily because of the countries implementation of its education reform and also because of the significant research findings that ‘high quality early learning’ is critical for young children's learning outcomes. However, quality is a term which has no concise definition and different values have been attributed in conceptualising and assessing quality depending on who is defining it. Consequently, recent developments in the Early Years have also highlighted the importance of listening to children's voices. However, only few studies have taken into consideration children's perspectives of what quality means to them.The aims of this study were therefore to identify different stakeholders (policymakers, parents, teachers and children) views of quality in Kindergartens in Qatar. Classroom observations using the ECERS-3 quality rating tool were also undertaken by the researcher to compare observed quality rating scores to stakeholder views. Additionally, the researcher also compared the ECERS-3 classroom quality rating scores from this current study to previous studies undertaken in Qatar and the Middle East.The results from this study contribute to research findings that quality is a relative concept and is defined according to individual values, beliefs and experiences. In this study, policymakers were identified as having a ‘top-down’ perspective of defining, assessing and monitoring quality as well as having higher expectations of perceived quality than what is evident in the kindergarten classrooms. Parents valued some of the same quality characteristics as teachers, however, they also overestimated quality. Children's ‘bottom-up’ perspectives highlighted that they are able to confidently provide feedback on dimensions of quality and give a real insight into their own viewpoints of dimensions of quality. Finally, this study has identified aspects of ‘good’ quality in the Qatar kindergartens. However, observed classroom quality ratings have also identified areas of quality that need improvements.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2018.SSAHPD59
2018-03-15
2019-10-19
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2018.SSAHPD59
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