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VideoMarch 26, 2024

Improving early childhood education through interactions

We interviewed Juan Maragall, education specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in El Salvador, who shares what he believes are the keys to quality early childhood education: focused investments and attention to interactions.

Why is it important to invest in the quality of early childhood education?

The quality of early childhood education determines to a large extent people's future in school, and to the extent that children are better prepared when they enter school, we increase their chances of being successful, of having a complete schooling, a complete trajectory, and you increase their chances of having a successful life project and of incorporating themselves productively into society.

Now, the great challenge we have in early childhood is that we have to make targeted investments in those who need it most. We have to adjust a level, a quality offer, with the resources we have, because in Latin America we have serious resource limitations, but if you manage, with the resources you have, to make a quality offer in the targeted populations, you can make a big difference in the future of the people and in the future development of that country.

What recommendation would you give to countries that are redesigning their early childhood education system?

I think they have to pay attention first to the fact that the quality of early care has a structural component and another one that is associated with the interaction of people with children. You have to pay special attention to the interaction and train very well the people who take care of the children, support them, accompany them, provide them with development standards, provide them with guidelines on how that interaction should be. Both those who care for children and early childhood in institutional centers and those who support families in this process.

It is important to understand that quality has to do with interaction and that we have to strengthen and improve these interactions. To look for modalities of care that are adapted to what children and certain social sectors really need with the possibilities of what  the country can offer them.