As indicated in the Early Years Study 3, the reach of early childhood education is broad, including the education, care and well-being of young children. However, early education is also central to family policy and is associated with economic development and productivity. It is linked to a range of equity issues, including women’s employment, anti-poverty strategies, the promotion of social cohesion and the settlement of new Canadians.
Reflecting the main recommendation of the Early Years Study 3 (EYS 3)—that all children from age 2 through to elementary school have access to high quality, early childhood education—the Early Childhood Education Report 2011 (formerly, the Index) focuses on indicators promoting this goal. It provides a status update on the policy frameworks that the evidence indicates supports quality and access in jurisdictions across Canada.
EYS 3 defines early childhood education (ECE) as programs for young children based on an explicit curriculum delivered by qualified staff and designed to support children’s development and learning. Settings may include child care centres, nursery schools, preschools, pre- or junior-kindergarten and kindergarten. Attendance is regular and children may participate on their own or with a parent or caregiver.
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