In order to investigate the characteristics of pre school the EPPE team collected a wide range of information on more than 3000 children from 141pre school centres. They collected information on the characteristics and quality of these pre-school settings, and also on the childrens parents and family and home environments (Department for Education, 2012). The children who were selected to participate started the study at age 3 an upward until age 7 (Authority of the House of Commons, 2010).
Data was collected based upon a childs cognitive language and social development in each stage of their life. The sample was selected from six types of pre-schools in England attended by the children: private day nurseries, nursery schools, nursery classes, integrated centres and local authority day nurseries. A sample of children who had no or minimum pre school experience, were selected to participate in comparison with children in pre school groups to see if there were any differences between both groups intellectual and social/behavioural development (EPPE Project: Final Report, pdf).
Findings showed that disadvantage children benefit from high quality pre-school experiences, especially if they attended a setting with children from a wide range of social backgrounds rather than a setting only consisting of other disadvantaged children. Advantaged children did equally well whether they were in a pre school with children from different backgrounds or with other advantaged children. High-quality pre school care was linked to better intellectual and social behavior development for children, and is likely to be affected by staff qualifications and training.
The quality setting was seen to be particularly better in nursery schools and settings which integrated childcare and education. When children started school the effects of Pre school and how it had affected each child individually became obvious when children joined primary school. Those children with no pre school experience were seen to may be at a disadvantage compared to those who did when they started primary school. They were also more at risk to develop a special educational need than.
However children who had pre school experience still differed from one another in their development based on the type, quality and duration of the pre school they attended. (Authority of the House of Commons, 2010). KEEP The Key Elements of Effective practice (KEEP) aim is to ensure that all staff working with young children abide by effective practice and apply it into their work. KEEP intends to describe the features of effective interventions using the best available evidence and provide the benchmark for effective practice.
KEEP presents an agreed view of the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes practitioners need to effectively support young childrens learning. They also state that practitioners must also be committed, enthusiastic and reflective. A shared view will help children make progress through a play-based curriculum which builds on their interests, diverse needs and preferred ways of learning (KEEP: Key Elements of Effective Practice, pdf).
KEEP emphasises the importance that, in order for children to receive effective learning they must be in a suitable learning environment with high qualified/trained teachers and be surrounded by dependent and secure relationships at home and in school. Good relationships between everyone involved in the childs life and learning ensures the child to feel loved, secured and valued. In order to improve their work with young children practitioners use their own learning by using ways of work that are non-judgemental, sensitive and positive.
Therefore, practitoners through initial on-going training and development need to develop, and demonstrate and continuously improve a number of things in their work. They may have to work with the wider community such as parents and carers and also with other professionals with inside and outside the setting. They may have to improve on their relationships with both the children and their parents and develop a knowledge and understanding of the diverse ways that children can learn in order to support and extend childrens learning across all areas and aspects of learning (Leicestershire County Council).
KEEP has been developed to evaluate and improve local authority training and support, it needs to be used by practitioners and settings to identify their development needs and effectiveness on early years learning. However it is also based on improving practice through self-evaluation and reflection (KEEP: Key Elements of Effective Practice, pdf). Reference List EPPE Authority of the House of Commons (2010) House of Commons: Children, schools and families committee: Sure Start Childrens Centre.
Fifth Report of session 2009-10. Volume 1. London: The Stationery Office Limited. Department for Education (2012) Early Learning and Childcare: Evidence and Research, Effective Provision of Pre school Education (EPPE). [WWW]. Available from:
Routledge: Taylor and Francis e-library. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project: Final Report [pdf] Available at:
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