We have been working on this 2- year-study project entitled “Study on growing and learning during the transitional period from pre-primary to primary education and the quality of education and care in early childhood”. The objectives of this study are twofold.
The first focuses on the transitional period (approximately ages between second half of 5-year and first half of the Primary Grade 1) recognized globally as one of the most important period in early childhood. The objectives are to discern the implementation status of the preprimary-primary transitional curriculum across the nation and to examine effective methods that grasp the children’s developmental outcomes which sustain the learning during the transition period.
The other is to develop a set of scales for evaluating ECEC quality that can be used in teacher training at respective kindergartens, nursery or ECEC centers. To understand ECEC outcomes, it is deemed necessary to carry out longitudinal studies. As fundamental steps toward future study, we are considering the development of ECE scales to evaluate quality relevant for the context of Japan.
We introduce here some preliminary findings from the analysis on preprimary-primary transitional curricula collected by municipalities nationwide.
Along with collecting and organizing empirical studies on the effect of education in Japan and abroad, they undertake a series of new empirical studies relevant to the effects of education through analyses of existing national data such as the National Assessment of Academic Ability by the MEXT, and produce a policy brief. They carry out also a trial longitudinal research to measure the effect of education from pre-primary to early primary years to assess feasibility for scaling up to nation-wide.
They conduct the study on non-cognitive competence, in particular, on socio-emotional competence. They will present concrete constructs of socio-emotional competence in each development period in one’s lifespan and show the results in both scientific measurements and narrative records. The study will compile research evidence and knowledge from around the world on various aspects of development, effective factors and environments that facilitate development. They attempt to discuss specifically on socio-emotional competence, to clarify what challenges we face in Japan in developing relevant indicators to measure child development outcomes, as well as to expand knowledge for future research design on this topic.