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Article

The Parents’ Values of Early Childhood Education and Care in Russia: Discovering the Dimensions via Coding and Category Clustering

The Qualitative Report. 2017. Vol. 22. No. 12. P. 3314-3333.

In this study I explore parents’ perceptions of kindergarten as a social institution for the provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC). Global reforms of this important part of the welfare state are a starting point for the research. Redefining welfare ideology and minimizing the social burden on the state leads to the public and scientific debate about the value of early childhood education and its role in investing in human development. In-depth interviews with 30 mothers were analyzed by coding and category clustering. The results show that parents understand the service provided by a kindergarten as complex, aimed primarily at daytime children’s education and development in a specifically organized educational space performed by professional educators. The greatest parental value is children’s opportunity to be socialized or "learn how to communicate," to resolve conflicts and to find compromises, and to relate their behavior with group-mates and peers followed by the development of life skills, surviving with routines, as well as the associated skill initiative. At the same time, the main professional competence of the educator is seen in her/his ability to create a positive emotional climate, an atmosphere of openness for the realization of a child’s individuality and to create a space for comfortable communication with parents.