It is clearly evident that early-year experiences have a significant influence on the all-round
development and the later lives of any child. The influence, which may be either positive or
negative, has been emphasised across inter-disciplinary research (Awoniyi 1991; US Early
Childhood Head-Start Task Force, 2002). It alerts us to consider the quality of education in the
early childhood years seriously. Bush (2001) stated that the years between birth and age five are the
foundation upon which successful (or otherwise) lives are built. At the global level, this fact is
recognised and every nation is working assiduously towards providing quality early years
education and care for the very youngest children.
Nigeria, in accordance with the Jomtien Declaration on Education for All (EFA) in Thailand
in 1990, signed up in order to provide quality and comprehensive early childhood education and
care for all preschoolers. Nigeria had early childhood centres prior to this but it was left to the
private sector, which either provided a sub-standard services or charged very high fees, thereby
making this educational provision inaccessible to every child. The Federal Government of Nigeria
is now responsive to early childhood education by virtue of its inclusion in the Universal Basic
Education (UBE) programmes and even moved a step further to inaugurating early childhood
education policy on 8 October 2007 (Punch, 9 October 2007, p. 16). This constitutes a step in the
right direction in the provision of good early childhood education.
Yet, some pertinent issues need to be examined if the goal of this system is to provide the best
possible education for all Nigerian children. This article therefore addresses the problems and the
prospects that may be envisaged in the implementation of a programme so that necessary actions
can be taken in the right direction, and Nigerian early childhood education and care programmes
can meet the standards of global quality requirements. So, for this educational level to be a reality
in Nigeria, the following aspects need to be considered and the creation of new policies must be

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