With kindergartens and childcare facilities increasingly providing both education and care services, a functional similarity is growing between these two providers of children’s services. Demand to integrate services that overlap in function, especially those targeting children aged 3 to 5 is now very high indeed. This calls for urgent policy measures to improve the current dual system of kindergartens and childcare facilities, so that enhanced effectiveness may be secured in their administrative and financial operation. In Korea, research into this issue continues, based on an integrative approach to child care and education. A major example is a series of research projects undertaken by the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education, which reviewed viable ways to build an integrated system of childcare and education, starting in 2006. This study attempts to make more concrete some of the policy proposals of such previous research through a trial policy application on site, by which it intends to assess the practical feasibility of cooperation and integration between care and education. Considering that the central government’s efforts for integration have seen little success so far, this study also seeks to foster practical cooperation at the level of kindergartens and childcare facilities, and to induce the support of local governments and local offices of education.
In order to ‘prioritize the happiness and benefit of children,’ this study developed a model of care and education cooperation, with basic directions to devise and implement cooperation strategies for the co-development of kindergartens and childcare centers, place weight on on-site initiatives for cooperation, maximize the utilization of local community resources, and conduct demonstrative and objective evaluation of cooperation outcomes. In order to apply this model, an implementation and support system was established and complementary evaluation indicators were developed.
Since the study’s core intention is to apply and put policies into practice on site, rather than ceasing at the level of pure research, a pilot application project was developed and launched. In three regions selected for the pilot project, Gangwon Province, Gyeonggi Province and Busan Metropolitan City, 14 facilities(seven pairs of kindergartens and day care centers) were selected through an open competition process. The study was designed to last for a three-year period starting 2009. In the first year(2009), a cooperation model was developed and applied on a trial basis at actual kindergartens and childcare centers. In the second year(2010), a manual for care and education cooperation will be developed and evaluation will be carried out on the first-year outcomes. In the third year of study(2011), a consultation package for cooperation will be developed, along with a plan to distribute outcomes nationwide.
In the interest of ensuring cohesive and efficient research at the 14 facilities, this study was named the ‘Young-cha(Heave-ho!)’ project. The sound ‘young-cha,’ emitted when people bring their force together to achieve a common objective, symbolizes the study’s aim to generate unification among staff members at the pilot facilities, public servants at local governments and local offices of education, and all local community members, for the ultimate cause of ensuring children’s happiness and benefits. The word ‘young-cha,’ also literally meaning ‘zero-minus,’ signifies the aim to curb the quality gap of kindergartens and childcare facilities to a zero base, so that all young children in Korea may access high quality services.
After giving notice of the purpose and goals of the study to the directors of the 14 pilot facilities, teacher representatives, public servants at local governments and local offices of education and central government officials, a two day, one night workshop was organized for the purposes of team building and the sharing of perspectives. Explanatory sessions and workshops were held concurrently for all teachers at the pilot facilities by region. Visits were also made to the pilot facilities, together with public servants at each region’s local governments and local offices of education, so as to discuss cooperation plans. Over a pilot period of five months, Steering Committee meetings were held 3~4 times at each region(11 times nationwide in total), where members discussed key cooperation agendas, operational problems and future implementation plans. A Central Advisory Committee was also set up to guide the direction, contents, methodology, and oversee budget matters of the pilot project.
In addition, in order to assist and inform the efforts of pilot facilities to integrate care and education, publicity materials were produced and distributed including signboard emblems, banners for transportations, and introductory booklets on the Young-cha project for parents. A web site was set up for the project to share teachers’ records, meeting minutes, materials, photos, etc. A policy seminar was also convened to round up and evaluate the pilot program’s implementation in the latter half of the year, where participants presented each pilot facility’s cooperation initiatives and achievements, and cases of support provided by local governments and education offices. At this seminar, the seven facility pairs first presented their cooperation processes and outcomes in a poster format, after which the achievements of each 14 facility were displayed, in order to help parents better understand the process..
The first year of the pilot program, which spanned a relatively short period, focused on expanding infrastructure for cooperation among kindergartens, childcare facilities and administrative bodies. Many difficulties were encountered in this initial period of the program, mainly because even with the general agreement that exists on the necessity of cooperation between kindergartens and childcare facilities, actual cooperation initiatives were oftentimes blocked by the current dual system. Little support was given by kindergarten associations and childcare facility associations, due to their concern and fear of the ultimate goals and results of cooperation--i.e., integrating into one side. The passivity of public servants at local governments and local education offices, lack of communication between pilot facilities, lack of time, etc. added to these difficulties. Such problems are expected to continue in the future, albeit in different levels of difficulty.
Even so, even in terms of the attempt itself, this pilot project is an epoch-making achievement, in that visits and meetings had taken place between local public servants and facility members, where active dialogue was shared on developing concrete schemes for cooperation. The exchange and discussion among staff members at the pilot facilities also enabled a greater depth of mutual understanding and an opportunity to build cooperative relationships. Most importantly, the pilot sites were able to receive practical support from other sites such as participation in the demonstration teaching, meal delivery services and car pooling, gaining the means to provide young children with better services. The achievements, which hold significance in having proved the necessity of integrating childcare and education, are expected to play the role as a catalyst in encouraging cooperation between kindergartens and childcare centers.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 연구의 배경
Ⅲ. 유보 협력 실행 모델 개발
Ⅳ. 유보 협력 시범사업의 개요 및 과정
Ⅴ. 유보협력 시범기관 초기평가 결과
Ⅵ. 유보 협력에 관한 학부모 인식과 요구
Ⅶ. 유보 협력 시범사업의 성과
Ⅷ. 결론 및 제언