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Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

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Overview Spain

Contents

Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

Steering documents and types of activities

The 2006 Education Act and the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying it, are the basic rules currently governing the educational provision of the Spanish education system. The Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education defines curriculum as the regulation of the elements influencing the teaching and learning processes for each type of provision.

The curriculum of Pre-Primary Education is organised into different levels of definition, progressively adapting to the special characteristics of the context, the school and its pupils. For detailed information on the levels of curricular definition, see article Administration and governance at central and/or regional level.

The 2006 Act on Education establishes the educational nature of the two cycles of pre-primary education. The curriculum of the first cycle is not established at central level but determined by the Autonomous Communities for their respective regions. In the case of the second cycle, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is responsible for setting the core curricula and defines the objectives, contents and evaluation criteria for the whole State, subsequently completed by the education authorities. Regulation at regional level started in 2007 in both cycles.

At this stage, educational contents are organised around three curricular areas relating to children’s experience and development. These curricular areas are considered from a global and integrated perspective and developed by carrying out meaningful experiences for pupils:

  • Self-knowledge and personal autonomy: It promotes the gradual building of self-identity, emotional maturity, the establishment of emotional relationships with others and personal autonomy.
  • Knowledge of the environment: It helps discovering the contexts of the child’s environment, favouring its integration in a reflective and participative way. 
  • Languages, communication and representation: It aims at achieving knowledge of the different forms of communication and representation of reality, as well as the expression of feelings, thoughts, experiences and interactions with others.

The Education Act entrusts the Education Authorities with introducing a foreign language, especially in the last year of the 2nd cycle (5-6 years of age), as well as reading and writing, basic numeracy, information and communication technologies, and visual and musical expression during the second cycle. As regards Religion, all schools have to offer it in the second cycle, although pupils are free to choose it, guaranteeing parents’ or guardians’ right to a religious education for their children. The curriculum is established by the relevant religious authorities and schools have to organise an alternative subject for those pupils who do not take it.

There are differences between the Autonomous Communities when it comes to establishing the contents of the first cycle and completing contents on the basis of the core curricula for the second cycle. Some establish the same contents for both cycles; others formulate specific contents for each cycle; and, finally, some others only specify the contents of the second cycle, based on the actual contents of the core curricula.

Schools also play an active role in the development of the curriculum. In order to adapt it to the needs of their pupils and their environment, they draw up a series of documents where they formulate their pedagogical and curricular organisation: the school development plan, which includes the curricular definition of the Education Authority, and the yearly general programme, which covers all aspects concerning the organisation and running of the school for the school year, including the projects, the curriculum and all action plans as agreed and approved. A final report which includes and evaluates the activities and running of the school is also prepared annually.

The educational community participates in the drawing up of these documents through the relevant governing and educational coordination bodies of the school. Both the school development plan and the yearly general programme are prepared by the management team, in accordance with the criteria and proposals of the mixed-membership governing bodies of the school. The curricular project is normally drawn up by those responsible for pedagogical coordination, who submit their proposal to the Teachers’ Assembly.

For detailed information on the administration and governance of non-university educational institutions, see article Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level.

Teaching methods and materials

The methodology used in Pre-Primary Education is based on experiences and playing activities, in the context of an atmosphere of trust and affection which promotes children’s self-esteem and social integration.

In order to support schools in the drawing up of their pedagogical plan, the education authorities establish a series of methodological principles:

  • Global perspective of learning.
  • Children’s physical and mental activity, and importance of play.
  • Priority is given to emotional and relationship aspects.
  • Peer to peer interaction.
  • Coordination with families.
  • Preventive and compensatory nature.

Attention to diversity is also one of the methodological principles guiding educational provision, which adapts to children’s specific characteristics, interests, cognitive styles and maturing processes.

Schools, in the exercise of their teaching autonomy, define the teaching methods used in the classroom, in accordance with the methodological principles described. They also decide on curricular materials and didactic resources. In addition, each school teacher is free to choose the methodology, which must comply with what has been agreed at institutional level and established by the relevant Education Authorities.

The curricular materials and didactic resources which can be used include: activity books, printed material, self-produced materials, reference books from the school or classroom library, press, tales, Internet and online or digital resources and audiovisual aids. Didactic guides are also used as didactic basis of the curricular material employed and guidelines for content sequencing and adaptation. The use of resources related to plastic and musical expression is also particularly important at this stage.

The Education Act generally establishes that the publication and adoption of textbooks and teaching materials do not require prior authorisation from the Education Authority. In any case, they must have the appropriate level of scientific rigor, be adapted to the age of pupils and the curriculum approved by each Autonomous Community and reflect and encourage respect for the constitutional principles, values, liberties, rights and duties, as well as for the principles and values included in both the Act on Education and the 2004 Act on Comprehensive Protection Measures Against Gender Violence, to which all educational activity must adapt. Although it does not directly affect this stage, the principles and values of the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education explicitly refer to the need for measures for the prevention of gender-based violence and for the promotion of gender equality.

The supervision of textbooks and other curricular materials is part of the regular process of inspection carried out by the Education Authority of all the elements included in the teaching/learning process.

The textbook selection process follows some guidelines in all educational institutions: 1) The Pedagogical Coordination Commission prepares a report on the textbooks that are considered most appropriate; 2) The report is supervised by the School Council and the Teachers’ Assembly; 3) Teachers are responsible for the final decision. If the School Council does not agree with this decision, suggestions can be made for the Teachers’ Assembly to consider them.

Although grants for the purchase of textbooks and school materials are awarded at the compulsory stages (Primary Education and Lower Compulsory Secondary Education), there are also local and/or regional grants for the acquisition of school materials in the second cycle of Pre-Primary Education. For detailed information on assistance of this type, see article Early childhood and school education funding.