□ 현 정부의 국정 방향인 포용과 맥을 같이하여 유치원과 어린이집 물리적 환경 격차 완화를 위한 연구가 필요함.
□본 연구의 목적은 유치원과 어린이집 물리적 환경의 격차 완화를 위한 연도별 로드맵과 정책 방안을 제안하는 것임.
□관련 제도 및 규정 비교 분석, 관련 실태조사 내용 분석, 관련 선행연구 분석
□유치원과 어린이집의 물리적 환경 실태와 인식 분석
□유치원과 어린이집 물리적 환경 격차 완화를 위한 실천적 측면에서의 로드맵 제시, 로드맵 실행을 위한 정책방안 제안 The Moon Jae-in administration, established in 2017, has been concentrating on ‘reducing disparities’ to realize its vision for the nation, “A Nation of the People, a Just Republic of Korea”. It is stated in Policy Task 49: “strengthen educational services from early childhood to higher education” to relieve disparities between the fields of early child education and early child care. In 2018 ‘Roadmap Development Study to Reduce Disparities between Kindergartens and Childcare Centers (I) : regarding the Teachers’ was preceded, while this year’s second-year study focuses on the physical environment. Thus the study suggests policy direction, a roadmap and policy plans to relieve the discrepancies existing in the quality of children’s lives, assuring children’s rights including the right to participate in play, equal start in education, and the autonomy and rights of teachers.
Domestic and overseas literature review, focus group interviews, domestic and overseas case studies (South Korea, Japan, Finland), expert advisory conferences, and policy administrative conferences with government officials were conducted. 372 kindergarten teachers and 374 childcare center teachers were surveyed to understand their perception of the difference in the physical environment of each establishment. Experts in early childhood education and early childhood care, principals and vice principals of kindergartens, delivery system operators were recruited for 3 delphi surveys. Lastly, policy seminars were held to announce and discuss the research results to supplement the policy plans.
An overview of results from various research methods are as follows.
Firstly, the dualized administrative system of kindergartens and childcare centers places them under separate laws regarding facilities and equipment. Thus there existed differences in the size, locational conditions, construction standards of each room type, playground, safety related standards. Differences due to separate authorization standards were identified statistically and the assessment of the physical environment were also under different criteria. Preceding researches identify the significance of the physical environment in the various areas of the child’s development.
The physical environment of 24 Korean kindergartens and childcare centers were investigated and play behavior of 96 children from these environments were observed. In the kindergartens, children in the higher quality environment displayed more significant play behavior, and higher participation in play. As for childcare centers, children in the higher quality environment participated more in teacher-planned activities as well as in play in general. In Japan nature friendly environment and child-centered free play in both in and outdoors were regarded important, whereas in Finland, organizing spaces for multi-functions and planning spaces to promote teachers’ health and welfare, and management of noise and air quality were emphasized.
Through the survey differences in the physical environment existed not only according to the type of service but also according to the establishment type, location, size, year of establishment. The teachers also perceived the differences resulted from the difference in establishment type and size rather than the difference in the service provided. Through assessing the physical environment of the kindergartens and childcare centers, spaces were more suitable in assuring children’s right to participate in play, while relatively less suitable for rest, and least suitable for assuring the rights of the teachers. The teachers perceived expanding the small sizes of the play and class rooms as the foremost issue of improvement, and improving standardized outdoor play areas and non-allocation of teacher area followed.
The results of the Delphi surveys were used to plan specific policies to relieve the discrepancies in the physical environments, and to analyze the significance and practically of the suggested policies in regards to 5 areas (facility regulation improvement, related regulation improvement, support for individual improvement plans, utilization of community infra, teacher professionalism improvement).
Suggested policy directions are as follows. Firstly, while assuring the right to play and rest as the priority, include the rights of teachers who are assuring the rights of the children. Secondly, support child-centered, play-centered play in the fields as suggested in the Nuri-curriculum (national curriculum). Thirdly, set long-term plans for overall improvement, while providing practical plans for immediate implementation. Lastly, include teacher professionalism enhancement plans to improve the physical environment.
In regards to these directions, policy plans for the system, administration and finance are suggested as follows.
Regarding the system, the following are suggested: unification of the criteria for facilities, teacher training, inclusion of physical environment education during teacher education, assessment criteria improvement, establish system for community infra utilization. Administratively, organizing and operating consulting groups by cities and provinces to optimize the utilization of the spaces, developing and distributing space organizing manual and cases, establishing community network and platform, education and promotion for awareness, carry out researches and share results regarding physical environment, support learning community, unifying the administrative system are proposed. Financially, such are suggested: supporting teachers to improve the physical environment, set budget for space utilization consulting, aid maintenance for adjustment in child rate per class, aid improvement in the physical environment such as size expansion, aid transportation and labor force from community infra, aid reinforcement of personnel in areas with labor force shortage. To realize the above policy plans policies that need to be implemented in the 5 years from 2020 to 2024 are proposed regarding 5 areas (facility regulation improvement, related regulation improvement, support for individual improvement plans, utilization of community infra, teacher professionalism improvement.