Monitoring is an integral part of democratic accountability to children, families and the public. It is essential for informed decision-making, ensuring that societal resources are deployed productively, scarce resources distributed equitably and social goals reached. The challenge is to develop monitoring systems that capture how programs are operating, what children are learning and if system goals are being met. Monitoring on its own does not deliver results, although it is a crucial part of a larger system designed to achieve them.
Federal/provincial/ territorial early childhood agreements include annual reporting in each jurisdiction on progress made in meeting the terms of the agreements. The minimum benchmark proposed is that the responsible ministry/department/agency has published a comprehensive report on ECE services within the last three years (see Figure 5.15). Quebec was not a signatory to the agreements and has its own reporting process.
Learning outcomes for children cannot be considered apart from the inputs they experience in ECE settings. Standards governing health and safety, facilities and class size are important minimums for all ECE programs. Also important are standards outlining pedagogical practices, implementation of curriculum goals and set-up of the learning environment. The benchmark proposes these minimum program standards for all ECE settings.
Public reporting informs communities about how their children are doing and what can be done to improve children’s early learning environments. The minimum benchmark proposed is that a province has used the Early Development Instrument and reported on the findings at least once in the past three years, or the province has committed to using the EDI within a specified timeframe.
Next: Next Steps for the Early Childhood Education Report 2011
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