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 appears to be good. It is a tool for facilitating conversations about next steps and revealing policy gaps.The ECE Report is housed at the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, 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, access 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. While this is an important start, we can not overlook the limited number of benchmarks the report is able to populate and the constraints that exclude First Nations communities. The modesty of the thresholds reflects the persistence of low standards and investments. 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 single report.
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