Quality Early Childhood Education: Why It Matters

The purpose of quality assurance assessment

Quality assurance assessment helps to support teachers and build expertise and capacity in the education system to deliver positive outcomes for children. Through sharing, understanding and applying standards and expectations. Quality assurance helps to raise standards and expectations and levels of consistency across teachers and settings. It is important in the planning and coordination of professional development activities that a partnership and inter-establishment approach is adopted to ensure cross-service and cross-sector working on standards and expectations.

Quality assurance in education is part of the day-to-day work of pre-school settings, primary, and secondary schools. Staff use a wide range of activities to ensure that high standards are maintained and outcomes improved for children. These include monitoring, self-evaluation and planning for improvement. Since assessment is integral to learning, teaching and the curriculum, these quality assurance approaches apply equally to assessment.

Demand for childcare is rising because of a variety of factors, including economic conditions. Unprecedented attention to young children has ushered in a new era for early childhood education. Parents are more concerned than ever before about their children’s learning, development, and readiness for school. Early childhood teachers are taking on the challenges of serving all children equitably and well. Accessing high-quality early childhood provision has been identified as contributing positively to improving outcomes for children, leaving them well placed for future achievement and lifelong learning. Jawda supports settings and the Ministries to communicate a shared vision for quality, supporting early childhood settings to aspire to providing high quality services.

A rigorous and robust quality assessment framework gives confidence in teachers’ judgments and provides assurance to parents and others that all children receive appropriate recognition for their achievements in line with agreed standards and are progressing in line with expectations. The award system linked to quality assurance helps parents and carers to identify quality settings in the UAE.

The purpose of quality assurance in relation to accurate curriculum data, emphasises the responsibility of practitioners, setting leaders, directors and ministries in ensuring the quality, accuracy and reliability of data. This is to ensure that all stakeholders who use the data have truthful and reliable information that can be used to improve outcomes for all children. Developing a process that supports effective quality assurance takes time and commitment from all stakeholders. It also requires trust and cooperation at all levels, working collaboratively with mutual respect and understanding of the curriculum profile.

Why should I work towards achieving quality in my centre?

Recent years have seen more children accessing early year’s education and childcare.  Growing numbers of mothers of pre-school children for example are in full or part-time employment More than 90% of the age appropriate children in Dubai are enrolled in kindergarten, surpassing the attendance rates of many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and demonstrating parental awareness about the importance of these years as preparation for compulsory schooling.[1] The focus on quality has been influenced by the considerable body of evidence showing that access to high quality Early Childhood Education Centre services can make a significant difference to children’s development and wellbeing. [2]

Many studies highlight[3] the positive relationship between quality childcare and virtually every facet of children’s development that has been studied, is one of the most consistent findings in developmental science. Longitudinal studies in the UK, USA and other countries have found that good quality Early Childhood Education experiences can continue to have a positive influence on children’s development into the primary and secondary school years,[4]. The overall aim of Quality Assurance Assessments in Early Childhood Centres is to inform families, children and the wider public whether a provider exceeds expectations in the sector.

The benefits of quality assurance assessment

In Early Childhood settings the assessment provides a holistic programme based in a change model.  It draws on an approach that is participative and encourages reflection.  The approach has been designed specifically for the sector and is not a traditional approach, a reflective pace is conducive to embedded change. Arabian Child have developed a systematic, rigorous and a way of looking at, planning, delivering and evaluating work, and encourage this methodically, collaboratively and collegially.

Our research confirms quality assurance helps to support teachers in building expertise and capacity in the education system by delivering positive outcomes for children. Through sharing, understanding and applying standards and expectations, quality assurance raises standards and expectations, and levels of consistency across teachers and settings. Arabian Child actively encourage childcare providers to work towards a quality assurance assessment, as providers who are quality assured will be issued a quality assurance assessment certificate, may use a logo on their publications and display their ratings on their website.

Introducing Jawda – Quality Improvement Program ®

Jawda is an exciting, innovative effort to enhance the quality of services provided to children and families in their communities. Jawda provides information to families and helps them to make informed decisions about their Childcare needs.

We know how important it is for children to have the best start in life so that children are happy, confident, secure, safe and developing well. Arabian Child, is one of the largest providers of early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates. 

  • Jawda aims to raise standards in the Early Childhood sector, recognize high quality services and provide additional reassurance for parents.
  • It offers a series of practical stages for pre-schools and nurseries to work towards, improving flexibility and support.
  • Jawda enables childcare practitioners to raise standards in early childhood settings that offer care and education beyond the minimum requirements.

Globally many licensing and regulatory standards are seen as the minimum requirement. This can lead to concerns about the quality of Early Childhood Centres provision, and this has led to Arabian Child taking the step to develop a rigorous quality assessment tool. The assessment aims at raising standards above the minimum level and includes the use of quality improvement programmes that can lead to accreditation, improve the level of staff training and qualifications, increase parents’ awareness and knowledge, and provide support to organisations in monitoring and tracking areas of achievement and areas that need further improving.  Arabian Child aims to raise the standards far beyond minimum standards, it has been proven in different parts of the world that Quality Rating Systems encourage providers, to go beyond the minimum licensing standards.


Bennett, J. (2009) Early Childhood Education and Care in Dubai. University of London

Brown, E. G., & Scott-Little, C. (2003, March). Evaluations of school readiness initiatives: What are we learning? Greensboro, NC: SERVE.Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://srvlive.serve.org/_downloads/REL/ELO/SchoolReadiness.pdf

Gilliam, W. S. & Zigler, E. F. (2004). State efforts to evaluate the effects of prekindergarten: 1977 to 2003. New Haven, CT: Yale University Child Study Center. Retrieved April 5, 2006, from http://nieer.org/resources/research/StateEfforts.pdf

Gomby, D. S. Et al (1995). Long-term outcomes of early childhood programs: Analysis and recommendations. Future of Children, 5(3), 6-24.

Hanford, E. (2009) Early Lessons. America:  American Public Media


Mooney, A. (2007) The Effectiveness of Quality Improvement Programmes for Early Childhood Education and Childcare. www.ncb.org.uk/media/237835/thomascoram_literature_review.pdf

OECD (2006) Starting Strong II:  Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD

Shonkoff, J. P. & Phillips, D. A. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early child development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Compendium of quality rating systems and evaluations, April 2010, OPRE. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/qrs_compendium_final.pdf

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