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VideoFebruary 27, 2024

"Children are not a future hypothesis": Enduring governance systems for Early Childhood Education

In an event about the importance of investing in high-quality Early Childhood Education, we interviewed Claudia Lagos, Undersecretary of Early Childhood Education.

Why did Chile decide to prioritize Early Childhood Education?

Chile made an important decision, which is to put the focus on early childhood education. And that brought with it several implications. The decision was made to create a new institutional framework for kindergarten education that could guarantee governance and structural conditions so that this level could be incorporated into the education system. Recognizing that children are not a future hypothesis, that they are not something that will happen in the future, but that they are a present, living social category that has needs and that has a lot to contribute.

How to protect the early childhood education system from changes in government?

To guarantee early childhood education we need to have a structure, regulations and laws that impede random decisions linked to a particular perspective of a political cycle, so that they can transcend over time. And that in a society happens, mainly, through the fact that this is regulated, that it is stipulated, in the way society functions.

What would you recommend to a country that is redesigning the governance of its early childhood education system?

I think the most important thing is to attend to the territorial and cultural relevance of society. Children in all spaces and societies have characteristics, as do their families, and have social practices that are important to safeguard and preserve. And in this context, policies and institutionalization have to be able to read those realities.

We have talked about the main characters, which are the children, and about the governments, but I want to ask you: What you think is the best way to raise awareness among other key actors, such as families.

Parents are probably the most obvious thing to transform in this vision. But the fundamental thing, I think, is to recognize that we have to operate in a cultural change in societies. And there is little awareness of childhood as a present and vivid social category. I believe that this translates into daily actions, in every space and in every context, to make children visible. When we understand this as societies, I believe that we will effectively, as a consequence, have parents who are much more aware and empowered of the importance of intervening educationally in the first years of life.