Next Steps for The Early Childhood Education Report 2014

The five equally-weighted categories in the Report and their benchmarks reflect current research and international reports. System-level indices comparing jurisdictions must balance the desire for appropriate, comparable data and the reality of what is available. The content validity of the ECE Report 2014 appears to be good. It is a tool for conversations about next steps.

The ECE Report 2014 is housed at the Atkinson Centre, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. The Centre regularly brings together academic expertise to further review the ECE Report and improve aspects of its validity. It hosts a number of conferences, roundtables and reviews to delve more deeply into the individual benchmarks. To date the Centre has reviewed integrated governance, population monitoring, early learning curriculum frameworks, quality monitoring and the status of the early childhood  workforce. Reports and presentations are on the Atkinson Centre website.

Awareness of the importance of development in early childhood has caught the attention of policy makers and they have responded. This is an important start. However we can’t overlook the limited number of benchmarks the Report was able to populate and the constraints that excluded two of the Territories and First Nations. The modesty of the thresholds reflects the persistence of low standards common to the split delivery of ECE systems. Yet there are reasons for optimism. Much progress has been made since the OECD’s international review exposed Canada as an ECE laggard, not all of which can be captured in a report.

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