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Is Full-Day Kindergarten a Success? (video)
The Agenda with Steve Paikin, August 30, 2021

Description: "We'll be looking back at more than a decade of full-day kindergarten in Ontario. How well has it worked? Were the original concerns about it warranted? And has it accomplished its goals. With guests Jane Bertrand of OISE at the University of Toronto; the Toronto Star's Kristin Rushowy, and the University of Toronto's Elizabeth Dhuey."


How parents can be ‘emotion coaches’ as kids navigate back-to-school during COVID-19
The Conversation, August 26, 2021

Excerpt: "Among the parents we studied, we found that women with a history of early life adversity were the most vulnerable to mental health problems. But men with a history of early life adversity were still at greater risk for mental health problems than men without such early adversity."


Canadian election 2021: Will the national child-care plan survive?
The Conversation, August 15, 2021

Excerpt: "Today’s Liberals have shown more gumption than in 2005 when they caved in to provincial demands in their rush to get everyone on side before the opposition forced an election. To date, Ottawa has stood firm on its criteria for non-profit delivery, better trained staff and — what they’re banking on as the vote-grabber — marked-down fees for parents. Any provincial proposals coming forward without these pillars get sent back to their respective capitals."


Ontario, not Quebec, holds the model for child care
The Globe and Mail, July 22, 2021

Excerpt: "Surprise! No jurisdiction in Canada is better equipped to create a system of high-quality, accessible early learning and child care; a system that can reduce inequalities in a way comparable to schools and health care. Ontario already provides early learning to a quarter-million – 90 per cent – of four- and five-year-olds in its kindergarten classrooms and requires schools to provide before- and after-school care where parents want it. More than half the province´s schools already have child care, and a billion-dollar capital program is under way to add more. Building on your existing public assets is the secret sauce in bringing high-quality early learning and child care to a neighbourhood near you. Ontario leads that parade."


Universal Childcare (video)
Counterpoint, June 2021

Andrea Mrozek, Peter Shawn Taylor and Dr. Emis Akbari join Tanya to discuss the Liberal Government’s plan to reduce child care costs for all Canadians.


Early Childhood Education Report 2020
June 3, 2021

This is the 4th edition of the Early Childhood Education Report (ECER). Established in 2011, the report is released every three years to evaluate provincial/territorial early years services against a 15-point scale. Results are populated from detailed profiles of each province and territory. The ECER is organized around 5-categories with 21 benchmarks forming a common set of minimum criteria contributing to the delivery of quality programming. This report captures changes to early years services from March 2017 to March 2020, as such it is able to assess the impact of the Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreements and serves as a baseline for the pre-pandemic status of ECE in Canada.


New cross-Canada research highlights an early childhood educator recruitment crisis
The Conversation, June 3, 2021

Excerpt: "As Canada emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, early education is key to the recovery of not just children and families, but of our social economy. Children have endured learning delays and many have seen worsening mental health. The pandemic has also rocked an early childhood sector that was already unstable and uneven. We must do better.
The newly released Early Childhood Education Report 2020 monitors quality and changes in early child education across Canada, and suggests critical issues to consider. The report is produced by the Atkinson Centre, a research centre based at the University of Toronto that uses best available evidence on early child development to inform public policy."


Ottawa’s $10-a-day child care promise should heed Québec’s insights about balancing low fees with high quality
The Conversation, May 11, 2021

Excerpt: "COVID-19 underscored what women knew all along. Faced with few viable options, mothers ended up exiting the workforce. Small wonder that the recent federal budget focused on reducing fees when describing its early learning and child care plans. Ottawa’s plan to cut costs in half by next year, with the promise of $10-a-day child care fees within five years, throws a lifeline to thousands of households."


Early Learning and Child Care on Canada’s Agenda
NIEER, May 6, 2021

Excerpt: "Canada’s Budget 2021 is focused on pandemic recovery, including the  intention to develop a country-wide system of early learning and child care. The convergence of COVID-19, a finance minister who is herself a working mother, and decades of research and advocacy created a unique moment for historic public spending on young children."


Open Letter in Response to the Federal Budget 2021
Early Child Development Funders Working Group, May 5, 2021


Quebec Provincial Profile
Early Childhood Education Report 2020


THE EXPLAINER: Budget 2021 – Early Learning and Child Care
April 29, 2021

"The federal government is using its spending powers to incent provinces and territories to participate. Budget 2021 commits to new investments totaling $30 billion over the next five years, including $1.4 billion for Indigenous families. After that an annual commitment to $9.2 billion, with $385 million ongoing for Indigenous programs, raises the federal contribution to early learning and child care to the equivalent of what provinces and territories now spend.

Budget 2021 signals a bias for non-profit/public delivery and clearly directs funding to program operations to support quality and access and to reduce fees, rather than payments to parents. It moves away from the current market approach to a view of early learning and child care as a public good."


Review of Toronto Early Learning and Child Care Services
March 2021

"The economic impact of investment in the child care sector includes three major facets: It is a job creator for those directly employed in the sector and for those who participate in the sector’s supply chain.; It creates opportunities for parents to increase their labour force participation. (As a job creator and a job facilitator it impacts tax revenue and GDP growth).; It positively impacts children by enhancing learning and health, which influences their future earnings and wellbeing, and contributions to the broader community."


COVID-19 First Phase Response Plan: A federal municipal partnership to model sustainable quality early learning and childcare (ELCC) services across Canada
December 2020

"This proposal outlines an immediate $500 M Federal granting program to municipalities to demonstrate best practices in ELCC delivery through investments in access, workforce development and service development, planning and oversight. Designed to rapidly expand child care access, these investments will also identify the resources and measures required to create a pan Canadian system of public, sustainable, high quality early learning and childcare."


Canada’s woeful track record on children set to get worse with COVID-19 pandemic
The Conversation, October 19, 2020

"Strong, focused and equitable policies to support children are needed now more than ever. Now that we have seen decades of consistent evidence of inequity and poverty, Canadian policy makers should not need to see another report. They need to take action. Canada’s children deserve better. They need federal efforts to rectify the obvious opportunity gaps. Canada’s track record leaves out too many: it needs to do better. Not tomorrow, today."


A Year-By-Year Approach to Investing in Early Learning and Child Care
October 16, 2020

"Fair compensation and supported working conditions are a proven formula for incenting ECE graduates to return to the sector. For example, almost half of the 53,000 registered educators in Ontario’s College of ECEs do not work in licensed child care, largely because of low wages and poor working conditions. Nova Scotia has demonstrated it is possible to bring back and retain these skilled workers. When the province rolled out its universal pre-primary school program, 70% of the educator positions were filled by certified ECEs who returned to the profession. Many moved back to N.S. to work in the program. It is a striking example of how recruitment prospects really change when workers are paid commensurate to
their training and skills."


Ten reasons to expand public kindergarten
September 29, 2020

"Two-years of kindergarten delivered within the school system leverages existing investments within public education and ameliorates several issues facing families, communities and government: High rates of illiteracy (including reading, writing and numeracy) that are a drag on the economic futures; Growing special education demands fueled by an increase in academic and language gaps and behavior challenges that are easier to address when interventions begin early; Increasing child care costs to families that reduce parental, particularly the labor force participation of mothers."


Pandemic realities offer a chance to address Canada’s long legacy of broken promises on child care
The Globe and Mail, September 25, 2020

"The key is quality, not just quantity. And quality depends on well-trained and resourced educators. Poor pay and working conditions drive qualified educators out of the field. Quality concerns are found everywhere, including in Quebec, the leader in affordable child care."


Investing in Early Learning and Child Care: A Framework for Federal Financing
A memorandum to the Ministry of Finance, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office
September 16, 2020

"A system that addresses the needs of parents and children requires building more physical infrastructure, and more affordable access, but critically it requires more educators. This involves not just better wages and benefits, but an infrastructure that sustains quality work including access to excellence in pre- and in-service training; pedagogical leadership, and the availability of special needs specialists and family support workers to help address child/family needs, as in most schools."


Ontario's Child Care Standards Lag Behind
July 2020

The mandated 5-year review of the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) is open. The province has allowed a very short turnaround time for the public to respond. Online submissions closed July 21. Written submissions are accepted until July 31 and should be sent to ceya_consultation@ontario.ca.  


Coronavirus school closures could widen inequities for our youngest students
The Conversation, June 22, 2020

"The coronavirus has uncovered myriad inequities within systems of education, from childrens’ and families’ access to resources, to the supportive and safe environments that are necessary for optimal learning. Inequities are exponentially greater in times of crisis. In Canada, more than 2.3 million primary-age children remain at home. Challenges of inequity were immediately apparent as public school authorities began responding. "


Better public child care is the engine we need for recovery post-coronavirus
The Conversation, June 15, 2020

"As of June 12, child-care centres in Ontario can open, following reopenings in most regions of Québec. But while these child-care centres are doing their part to support families in the post-coronavirus recovery, and Ontario is offering some extra help, Canada needs to find economically efficient ways of supporting child-care programs while simultaneously incentivizing quality. In so doing, it would follow some of the smartest approaches to economic recovery, development and social wellness already evidenced in parts of Canada and the world."


Confronting inequity, the other pandemic
May 2020

"COVID-19 has propelled us into a new epoch for public education. This is a chance to renew the system to meet the challenge, empowering this generation of child survivors to confront the disparities, environmental degradation and the other conditions that gave rise to the pandemic and create a more sustainable and just world."


COVID Child Care Strategy
May 2020

"The COVID-19 virus has changed the channel on child care. No longer a private responsibility borne largely by mothers, it is a social one vital to all those parents who make up the army of first responders in a time of crisis."


Early Years Study 4: Thriving Kids, Thriving Society
February 2020

The fourth landmark study, titled Early Years Study 4: Thriving Kids, Thriving Society, led by the Honourable Margaret McCain, builds on over 20 years of research and calls for an annual investment of $8 billion to bring Canada up to the OECD average enrolment rate for early childhood education.


OECD Governance Models
December 2019

Governance, administration, service providers, educator training early childhood programs in selected OECD countries


ELCC Innovation ToolKit
September 2019

This project aims to foster quality in the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) sector by identifying evaluations of innovative approaches to ELCC in Canada that could be scaled to spread their impact.

The ELCC Innovation ToolKit identifies innovations in the following areas: ELCC governance; funding; inclusion and equitable access; the learning environment including curriculum, program supports, transitions to kindergarten and parent engagement; the workforce including educator training, professional development, compensation and recognition; and monitoring and accountability.


Full-day Kindergarten is what Ontario needs for a stable future
The Conversation, February 10, 2019

"Early childhood research anchored in brain development showed that up to a third of students started Grade 1 so far behind they never caught up. By the time they entered school it was both very difficult and very expensive to make up for the foundational skills they missed during their early years."


Policy Oversight of Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education Setting in Canadian Provinces and Territories
February 2019

"This report provides an overview of Canadian provincial and territorial perspectives of outdoor play in child care and kindergarten settings. It reviews curriculum frameworks that guide early childhood practice and the legislative oversight of early childhood environments to assess potential contradictions. While legislation can be a barrier to outdoor play, the paper finds other restrictive factors including educator/parent perceptions, lack of green space, fear of litigation, restrictive standards and funding mechanisms.  The overarching barrier to outdoor play is limited access to early childhood programs."


Preschool Class

The Rationale for Expanding Public Education to Include Preschool-Aged Children

January, 2019
By Jane Bertrand and Kerry McCuaig

 


Canada needs a national strategy to address the shortage of early childhood educators
November 2018

"Canada has about 2.4-million children age 5 and younger. If we were to exclude those under 1 year old, because their parents are potentially covered by federal parental leave, that leaves about 1.9- million preschoolers. For those 1.9 million preschoolers we have about 800,000 preschool child care spaces or enough capacity for about 40% of these children."


UNICEF Report Card 15: The Equalizer: How Education Creates Fairness for Children in Canada
October 2018

"The report measures the rights and well-being of children in rich countries over the past 18 years. UNICEF compares countries so they can learn and do better. The 2018 UNICEF Report Card 15 is focused on equality in education."

Special thanks to from UNICEF Canada went to Kerry McCuaig and Dr. Emis Akbari, Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, University of Toronto, for producing data and analysis for early child education in Canada.


Ontario’s early years revolution
April 2018

"Ontario has become the first jurisdiction in North America to make early learning and child care an entitlement for all children, setting a new bar for child care policy"


Canada must invest more in early childhood education, says new report
The Conversation, February 7, 2018

"A trend is emerging in education in Canada: We are recognizing that early childhood education is beneficial for children, for families, for everyone.

Provinces and territories are focusing more attention on programs for preschoolers and the federal government is prepared to invest billions of dollars in child care in the coming decade."


A few dissenters should not prevent Ontario from modernizing child care
November 2017

"Many children enter a child care setting around 12 months starting out in an infant room which takes children up to 18 months old. Within six months they will transition to a toddler room and then transition again a year later to a preschool room. Multiple transitions sever children’s relationships with their educators and peers creating unnecessary anxiety and insecurity for young children and their families. The proposed option reduces means children transition only once from infancy to entry to FDK."


Policy Briefing Note: The Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce
October 2017

Excerpt: "More than 190,000 people are part of Canada’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce. ECEC workers are employed in early childhood programs operated by non-profit agencies and for-profit companies. They work in the public sector in postsecondary institutions, for school boards, and for local and provincial governments. They also work in private homes as unregulated child care providers, as independent contractors for regulated child care agencies, and as live-in nannies."


Early childhood services that work for children, families and islanders
June 2017

"The research is designed to evaluate: The effects of the continuous early years program participation on children’s readiness for school; The value of a focused professional development agenda on child outcomes; The impact of public investments in early years programming on child outcomes."


 

Fundamental flaws flash over Ontario’s child care plan
June 2017

"There is much to commend in the ministry’s document, but the fundamental flaws are flashing. As long as child care remains a market-driven service, designed as a workforce support and co-existing alongside an unlicensed black market, quality, affordable, universal, transparent, and accountable will remain words, and not the drivers of system transformation."


Declaration: For Recognition of All Children’s Right to Quality Educational Services, from Birth Onward
May 2017

"Here is the Declaration of the Summit on Early Childhood Education for recognition of the right of every child to quality education services from birth. If you wish, you can make a citizen gesture by signing this Declaration electronically. In doing so, you will affirm your adherence to the principles set out therein and which promote equal opportunities for every citizen."

To read the English version, please view PDF here, however to add your name, please visit here to sign the French version.
 


Twelve Flawed Statements of the Fraser Institute on Quebec’s Childcare Program
April 2017

Excerpt: "This Research Bulletin is an affront to the standards promised by the Fraser Institute’s website, according to which “careful, accurate and rigorous measurement” is the foundation for its work, and the source of its data is “always provided.” The twelve arguments made in support of its view that Quebec’s childcare program is “flawed” do not hold water. Measurement is often careless, inaccurate, negligent, absent or mathematically absurd. Many sources are anachronistic, contrarian or unrelated to the argument, irrelevant, misinterpreted or missing. Simple correlations are fallaciously taken as identifiers of cause and effect.

All in all, an intellectual disaster."


Budget 2017 says all the right things but women still pick up the tab
March, 2017

Excerpt: "The headlines scream $7-billion for child care but dial back the enthusiasm. New funding creeps up from $500-million this year to $550-million a year over the next five years. It is not until post-election and another five years before annual funding tops out in 2028 at $870-million. Over a decade ago Paul Martin Liberals came out of the gate with $1-billion a year over 5 years and a plan that continued to shape provincial child care services long after the Harper government extinguished the money."


Response to the “Building A Better Future” discussion paper from Petr Varmuza and Laura Coulman, PhD Candidates at OISE, University of Toronto, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Early Learning Cohort
January, 2017

Excerpt: "What is needed now, for the early years and child care system, can be achieved in a gradual, orderly transition following from the innovative work that was set underway when your government created the public alternative to private delivery of early childhood education and care in Ontario for children ages four and five years. The reality is that more than one quarter of families in which parents are working or in school for 30 or more hours per week, have no regular child care arrangements. They resort to split shifts and weekend work which results in poorer work-life balance, reduced family time, and increased stress. And, of the children who are in a care arrangement full-time, more than one third are in informal care arrangements."


Finishing the Best Start vision in Ontario: A response to Ontario’s early years consultation
November, 2016

Excerpt: "Investments in expanding both capacity and affordability must go hand-in-hand. Each municipality needs the flexibility to plan the right balance based on local circumstances between increasing access through capital and increasing access through operating/subsidy. Allowing for a phased approach provides the flexibility to change based on changing circumstances from year to year."


Two commissions, same advice for New Brunswick early years
September, 2016

Excerpt: "Polling indicates Canadians understand and value public education, placing it only behind health care as a public good. As such we legislate it as a child’s right, invest in it and provide public oversight. Canadians are less familiar with childcare and are unsure where responsibility lies for its provision."


Inequity is the imperative of our time: Notes from the Congress on Early Childhood Education.
Paris, June 6-8, 2016

Excerpt: "While children have the least control over their economic circumstances they also have the most to gain from intentional interventions. Public policy designed to benefit children does make a difference."


The role of public policies in promoting equity in early childhood
Global Report on Equity Early Childhood
2016

"Early childhood is the most effective and cost-efficient time to address inequalities and break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage."


‘Dose-Response’ Relations Between Participation in Integrated Early Childhood Services and Children's Early Development
April 2016

"This study investigated the effects of participation levels (dose) on child development (response) in five school sites offering integrated early childhood services as part of the Toronto First Duty (TFD) demonstration project. The TFD model offered an integrated school-based service array for children under 6, including public school kindergarten, childcare, family literacy, parenting supports and other early childhood services. While investigating program dose effects, this study also considered the social ecology of the child, including family- and school-level characteristics that might alter the effectiveness of community-level service integration efforts to improve child development outcomes in kindergarten as children enter school."


Atkinson Centre's Response to Phase 2 Regulatory Proposals Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014
March 23, 2016

Excerpt: "We are pleased that the ministry recognizes the critical role of early childhood educators in the delivery of quality programs and services. Increasing the density of qualified staff in childcare programs, coupled with the recent hourly wage enhancements are important steps. Expanding the staff qualifications related to older school age children is appropriate given the developmental needs of this age group."


A Starting Point for Discussions on a New Federal/Provincial/Territorial Early Childhood Agreement
January 2016

Excerpt: "The success of f/p/t early childhood agreements are traditionally measured by the counting of new child care spaces or the size of financial transfers per child. These are inadequate measures, which on their own do not improve child outcomes. Can the pending talks open a new dialogue, informed by the best research, and centred around the best interests of young children? Can these discussions be a catalyst for turning provincial/territorial service patchworks into effective early childhood systems which finally tackle access and quality challenges while addressing the educational inequities children experience, especially those of Aboriginal heritage?"

  • A response by 4th Year George Brown College (GBC) Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership (ECL) students
  • A response by 3rd year George Brown College (GBC) Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership (ECL) students

Child Care in New Brunswick: The Social & Economic Impacts
November 2015

"This study was commissioned by the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to support the work of its Child Care Taskforce. The authors were asked to develop a cost benefit analysis of the potential social and economic impacts of public spending on child care in the province. They were also asked to provide recommendations on child care service delivery based on best practices in other Canadian jurisdictions."


Regional Municipality of Waterloo Administration and Finance Committee Public Input Meeting
September 2015

Excerpt: "Municipal child care is not care like any other. It addresses the critical shortage of care for infants, it responds to children with exceptional needs and to families in crisis.   It fills a gap that centres in the community and home care do not have the capacity to provide.  In closing the Region’s centres you will be leaving many of these families with no place to go."


It’s Time to Rethink Child Care; It’s Time for Preschool
by Margaret McCain
Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy, August 31, 2015

Excerpt: "As Canadian political leaders embark on the longest election campaign in our history they are finding that child care is an issue resonating with voters. Among the unexpected interested are 160 scientists and a coalition of charitable foundations. Earlier this summer the groups issued separate public statements, each urging policy makers to invest in high quality programs for preschoolers."


Feasibility Study of Universal, Affordable Daycare in the Northwest Territories
June 2015

"This study builds on a wide body of research from across disciplines that documents the benefits of early childhood education and care (ECEC) for children, families and society. The evidence suggests that accessible, quality ECEC would deliver similar benefits to the Northwest Territories. The key informant and survey and focus group participants who shared their views as part of the study were aware of the connections between ECEC and child, family and societal well-being. Using NWT data, the economic analysis predicts a similar ratio of costs to benefits from public spending on ECEC as found in studies of comparable regions. The GNWT motion commissioning this study on the feasibility of universal daycare reflects the attention policy-makers across Canada and internationally are affording early childhood education and care."


Is a National Child Care Program Past its Due Date? How the Royal Commission on the Status of Women Nearly Got it Right
April 2015

Excerpt: "More recently provinces and territories have looked to their education systems to expand early childhood opportunities. Full day kindergarten for 5 year olds is now the norm. Three provinces are including 4 year olds in publicly-funded kindergarten and most provinces offer some preschool programming at least for vulnerable children (Akbari & McCuaig, 2014)."


Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation
April 2015

"The report offers recommendations to build a workforce that is unified by the foundation of the science of child development and early learning and the shared knowledge and competencies that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age 8."


Schools at the Centre: Findings from Case Studies Exploring Seamless Early Learning in Ontario
December 2014

The Schools at the Centre study explores the impact of full day kindergarten and extended hours programming on educators, families and early years administrators in three Ontario regions. By exploring the processes and partnerships developed between school boards, regional governments and community organizations the researchers were able to uncover lessons to inform policy and practice. The aim of the study is to strengthen child and family centred services in communities.


In Search of Evidence
November 2014

Excerpt: "Why is this work so important?  First, it pulls back the curtain on which provinces and territories are making progress and how each needs to progress further to seize the social and economic benefits of quality early childhood education for the nation’s children. This recent edition of the “index” idea, released by Mrs. McCain, reveals a good deal of progress by the provinces with much more to do.  Despite increased investments by provincial governments, far too many children are still denied access to pre-school with countries as disparate as Mexico and the UK doing far better than Canada. Overall, this kind of accountability reporting is about evidence-based decision making."


The Early Childhood Education Report 2014
November 2014

"The immediate and long-term benefits of quality early childhood eduacation (ECE) for children and society are well documented.  Early childhood educaiton is a job creator in its own right, while supporting parents as they work or upgrade their skills."


The Mighty O!
October 2014

"For Emis Akbari, a post-doc at OISE’s Atkinson Centre, writing a children’s book was never a career aspiration. Reconnecting with childhood friends Brian and Laura Veloso via Facebook, she learned that their third child Owen, now six, had been born with Hyperplasmic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a rare and complex congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped."


Ontario's Full-day Kindergarten: A Bold Public Policy Initiative
June 2014

Can Ontario's universal full-day kindergarten program help to level the playing field? The list of possibilities is long: closing the gap of language experience of kids living in poverty, reaching all vulnerable kids, including those in the middle class, contributing support to families who need child care, and ensuring that care and education are combined in high quality programs that boost overall child development as well as academic skills and economic success. Research has shown that many of these goals can be accomplished by high quality universal early childhood programs.


Behind the Child Care Bidding Game
May 2014

Excerpt: "The bidding for child care in the Ontario election campaign started at $269-million with the Liberals, dropped to $100-million by the NDP and vanished by the time it got to the Tories.   Surprisingly advocates don’t ask the NDP leader why she killed the budget to come back with $169-million less than what was initially on the table."


A Caution about Wage Subsidies
April 2014

Excerpt: "A number of jurisdictions are raising the salaries of Early Childhood Educators this year but all allocate more funding to qualified staff as a way to build a professional workforce.   Ontario’s announcement doesn’t appear to include this differential.  At $2 an hour over two years, Ontario’s raise is comparable to adjustments in Quebec, PEI and Newfoundland but less than the $6/hour going to trained ECEs in the NWT."


Globe Misses Facts on Full-Day Kindergarten
March 2014

Excerpt: "Atkinson Centre faculty took aim at the slanted manner applied to reporting on the impact of full-day kindergarten for 4- and 5-year olds in Ontario.  The article ignores the significant benefits of full-day kindergarten to zero in on the flat lining of reading, writing and numeracy skills for one group in the study."

Also see Globe and Mail Letters to the Editor.


Policy Update: Full Day Kindergarten in Canada
March 2014

Excerpt: "Newfoundland and Labrador will become the newest members of the Full Day Kindergarten club starting in 2016. The province’s March 27, 2014 budget includes a plan for new capital spending to retrofit schools for 5-year-olds and the hiring of 140 additional teachers. 

This is a quick look at kindergarten in the rest of Canada."


Families Need Schools to Step Up
February 2014

Excerpt: "Across Canada it is a familiar scene, parents lined up in the cold to get their kids into a preferred slot at a preschool.  Whether motivated by a desire to give their child a head start for school or the need for care so they can work, the challenge is the same - too many children for too few good spots. But in the Northwest Territories the scene is changing. Publicly funded schools are filling the breach."


Responses to Child Care Modernization Act

On December 3, 2013, the Ontario government introduced the Child Care Modernization Act, to "take steps to strenghthen oversight of the province's unlicensed child care sector while increasing access to licensed child care options for families." 

Key Information:

Additional Resources:

Responses:

Update July 10, 2014: Improving the Safety and Accessibility of Child Care - Ontario Government Proposing Greater Oversight of Unlicensed Child Care Sector. Today, the Ontario government continues its support for families and children by re-introducing the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014.

The legislation, if passed, would strengthen oversight of the province's unlicensed child care sector, while increasing access to licensed child care options for families. In addition, it would allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child's safety is at risk.

  • To read the latest release (July 10, 2014) about the legislation

Update November 17, 2014: The Atkinson Centre, presented to the Standing Committee on Social Policy of  the Ontario Legislature, to provide feedback on Bill 10, An Act to enact the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, Presented by Bernice Cipparrone and Kerry McCuaig, November 17, 2014, Toronto, Ontario

Update December 2, 2014: Ontario Strengthening Child Care Oversight:Modernizing the Child Care Sector for Ontario Families.  Today, Bill 10, the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.

Update February 1, 2016: Regulatory Registry Posting related to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and the Education Act: Phase 2 Regulations. All interested parties are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed regulations by April 1, 2016. The ministry values the unique and diverse perspectives from parents/families and broader child care, education, service system management, and early years partners.

Updated May 9, 2016: The Child Care and Early Years Act: Phase Two Regulations


Atkinson Centre Statement: Consultation on Ontario’s Full Day Kindergarten Research and Results
January 2014

Excerpt: "A group of diverse research and policy experts in early child development met to discuss the recently released findings on the implementation and impact of Full Day kindergarten in Ontario. As supporters of FDK, participants were interested in developing strategies to address the media backlash that followed the release of the ‘Meta-Perspective’ document and to ensure the program would be evaluated fairly and effectively over time."


Full Day Kindergarten/Extended Day - Submission to The Honourable Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
January 2014

Excerpt: "While full day kindergarten is a policy milestone, on schedule to serve over 260,000 four- and five-year-olds, unfortunately our government stopped short of implementing the bold vision for school operated early learning and care described in With Our Best Future In Mind. Fewer than 20 per cent of Ontario’s children 12-years and younger have access to regulated care. The dearth of safe, affordable child care options literally endangers children’s lives, curtails parents’ work opportunities and costs the economy in work/family conflicts.  As currently organized, child care creates a low wage sector reliant on social transfers."


Full Day Kindergarten
December 2013

Excerpt: "Margaret Wente contends the Education Minister fudged the numbers in her September announcement on the benefits of full day kindergarten for children. The true story she claims lies the ‘full report’ released by Queen’s University. (“Ontario's $1.5-billion kindergarten hoax”. Nov 30, Globe and Mail) Ms. Wente is referring to two different reports with two different purposes. Both were commissioned by the Ministry as part of the same evaluation."


Good New and Bad in Bill 143
December 2013

Excerpt: "There is much depth and change in Bill 143.  It repeals the Day Nurseries Act and amends the Early Childhood Educators Act and the Education Act in ways good and bad."


Ontario's Full Day Kindergaten a Success Story
September 2013

Excerpt: "Those of us who held the pend a few years back to capture the best global research and practice available regarding the positive impact full-day kindgarten would have on 4- and 5-year-olds, titles our report, "With Our Best Future in Mind."  Based on the research released a few days ago, our best future is arriving ahead of schedule."


Too Far From Perfect: A Father-Daughter Conversation about Public Education
September 2013

Too Far from Perfect is based on the reflections of a Toronto high school student about her learning journey from pre-school to grade 12. Through a dialogue with her father, educator Charles Pascal, Tai Notar describes the lessons learned about what has made the big difference to her learning and the educational aspirations of her peers. While Tai’s focus in on catching teachers and others doing things right, her narrative also calls attention to things that need to change. In this regard, Tai provides some provocative ideas about how public education can move closer to perfect. This father-daughter conversation is a must read for teachers and parents who believe that we need to listen more carefully to the authentic stories of our children and students.


A Remedy for this Child-Care Tragedy
August 2013

Excerpt: "The parents of Eva Ravikovich are trying to drag a small good out of a huge wrong. They are using the courts to hold the province of Ontario accountable for the death of their little daughter in an overcrowded, unsanitary daycare. Precedence indicates they may get some small respite. Eva is not the first toddler to die in an unlicensed facility. Each time an official inquiry has chastised the province for the dearth of safe child choices and urged it to do better. In turn, Queen’s Park responds by adding a few more daycare spaces, a few more government controls."


Maternal Employment Rates
July 31, 2013

Excerpt: "Data on maternal employment rates are presented both by age of youngest child and by the number of dependent children under age 15. Employment rates refer to the annual average calculated from various national employment or household surveys and from the European Labour Force Survey. There is yet no comprehensive regular annual data collection of maternal (or parental) employment across OECD countries. Data are presented for 2009 or the most recent year available (see the comparability and data issues section for details on the definition of paid employment)."


Early Learning and Early Childhood Education - An Accord by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education
May, 2013

The Accord on Early Learning and  Early Childhood Education by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) seeks to address the uneven provision of quality early learning experiences by highlighting practices that focus on the learning and care of all children; promoting improved, better connected education for preschool and elementary children; and recognizing educator knowledge as vital to effective education for early learners and their families.  It was launched at the Canadian Society for Studies in Education Conference, Victoria, B.C. on June 2. 


One School Board's Response to "The Munchkin Invasion: Does Full-Day Kindergarten deliver?" Maclean’s Magazine, May 27, 2013
May 22, 2013

Article by MaryLou Mackie and Scott Podrebarac of the Waterloo Region District School Board: Does Full Day Kindergarten deliver? Early indicators point to an enthusiastic "Yes!"  The experience of the Waterloo Region District School Board, a district that has embraced both Full Day Kindergarten (FDK), and the vision of extended Before and After school programs articulated in Charles Pascal’s, With our Best Future in Mind, suggests that there are immediate and sustained gains for children.


Reviewing the Evidence on Early Education:  Where MacLean’s Went Wrong
An Evidence-Based Response to Maclean’s Article on Early Child Education
May 16, 2013

Article by Charles Pascal and Janette Pelletier: Full day kindergarten for four and five year olds in Ontario has many champions – parents, educators, researchers and the children themselves.  But it does have its detractors.   In this response to The Munchkin Invasion appearing in the May 27/2013 issue of MacLean’s magazine, Charles Pascal, the author of Ontario’s blueprint for early learning, and researcher Janette Pelletier discuss the pitfalls of using disconnected research to draw broad policy conclusions.


Recommendations for the Future Administration of the EDI in Ontario
February 2013

Excerpt: "The Ontario Government has undertaken a review of the administration of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), including how data are collected, analyzed and reported. An external consulting firm, Malatest & Associates, conducted the review with a final report due in December 2012. The purpose of this paper is not to inform the consultant’s work but to use the occasion of a review to broaden the discussion about the EDI.  Our interest lies in maximizing its benefits.  Only by understanding the critical underlying principles of the EDI can we then address the issue of its administration."


Work Progresses on Ontario’s Early Years Puzzle
January 2013

Excerpt: "The task of creating coherence out of the province’s early years services took a step forward on January 23, 2013 with the release of the Ontario Early Years Policy Framework. It’s not the kind of document that gets media attention or stirs attention deep in the sector. The framework is about governance and while that isn’t as exciting as money or legislative change it is an essential forerunner if the latter are to be accomplished effectively."


Waterloo’s Story: Implementing a Comprehensive Vision for Seamless Care
November 2012

Excerpt: "Ontario’s implementation of the bold vision for school board operated seamless child care across Ontario that was described in, With Our Best Future In Mind , has hit a few road blocks. After a great deal of lobbying, some general election politicking, and resulting legislative changes, today, most school boards in Ontario have reverted to the status quo in terms of how before and after school programs are delivered. In the majority of school boards before and after care programs are delivered by a third-party agency resulting in access to service that ranges from comprehensive to skeletal. The exception to this pattern exists in Waterloo, Ontario."


Modernizing Child Care in Ontario - Responses

The following are responses to the Government of Ontario's Modernizing Child Care in Ontario: Sharing Conversations, Strengthening Partnerships, Working Together discussion paper.

Modernizing the Early Years: Submission to the Government of Ontario in Response to Modernizing Child Care in Ontario (pdf)
September 2012

Excerpt: "The Atkinson Centre’s response to the Province of Ontario’s discussion paper, Modernizing Child Care in Ontario, draws on extensive evidence documenting the elements that support quality and accessible service delivery.  It is informed by consultations with members of the Atkinson Task Force, an alliance of early childhood program operators, professional organizations, parents and educators."

Modernizing Child Care - Questions to Answer: More to Ask (pdf)
July 2012

Excerpt: "Modernizing child care in Ontario is longer on questions than answers.  Perhaps that’s wise for a sector that feels it is not sufficiently consulted.  If viewed as a conversation starter, it provides an opportunity to build a consensus around much needed changes to early childhood service delivery.  What follows is an initial response to the document..."

- Response from Peter Tabuns, Education Critic, Ontario NDP (pdf)
- Response from the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (pdf)
- Response from the City of Toronto (pdf)
- Response from the Child Development Institute (pdf)
- Response from Andrew Fleck Child Care Services (pdf)
- Response from Petr Varmuza and Laura Coulman (pdf)
- Response from CUPE 4400 (pdf)


Serving All Children to Catch the Most Vulnerable
Healthcare Quarterly Vol. 15 Special Issue, 2012

Article by Kerry McCuaig: "The needs of modern families have changed; the services designed to support them have not. Children's programming in Canada is divided into three distinct streams – education, child care, and family and intervention supports.... The result is service silos. Children and families don't experience their lives in silos; their needs can't be dissected and addressed in isolation."


Trends in Early Education and Child Care
July 2012

Report by Kerry McCuaig, Jane Bertrand and Stuart Shanker: "Over the last few decades the science of early development has witnessed explosive growth. New technologies confirm that infancy and early childhood are the first and most critical phases of human development. A child’s earliest experiences shape the structure of genes and the architecture of the developing brain. At the same time families have changed, becoming more diverse and are raising young children in circumstances that are significantly more complex, and for many, more stressful."


Pain and Gain for Early Learning in Ontario Budget 2012
March 2012

Excerpt: "Ontario Budget 2012 makes no overt changes to early learning.  Full day kindergarten moves forward as planned to embrace all children by 2014.  Its unique educator team remains intact.  The Government should be commended for rejecting the narrow mindedness of Drummond’s recommendations. The back-story however has some twists.  A $75-million reduction in education capital grants will crash into the need to build or refurbish classrooms in schools where there is no space for the remaining influx of 100,000 children during the final phase of the rollout.  Most early childhood educators in kindergarten classrooms do not yet work under a collective agreement.  Public sector wage controls leaves them, and new all ECE entrants, immobilized at the starting gate...."


Proposed Changes to the ASD Diagnosis: A Review of Implications for Early Childhood Programs
March 2012

Excerpt: "A new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is currently in development to replace the existing DSMV-IV. One of the changes proposed is in the diagnostic criteria for autism and related conditions....  The risk with the change in the definition of ASD is that some families will no longer be recognized as having rights associated with disability categories. All Ontarians have the right to accommodation on the basis of disability and a diagnosis allows parents to more readily claim these rights. As an example, one of the most common reasons for children to be asked to leave an ECE setting is because of their behaviours. If a child has a diagnosis of autism, the parents can use this diagnosis as leverage to get supports rather than being excluded from the service."


Did we Elect McGuinty or Drummond?
February 2012

Excerpt: "In 2007 the newly re-elected Premier Dalton McGuinty asked former deputy minister Charles Pascal to look into the best way to implement full day kindergarten for all Ontario four-and five-year-olds.   Fast forward five years and another appointee, this time former banker Don Drummond, is being asked what to eliminate from the budget to ensure Ontario stays on track to eradicate a $16-billion deficit.  Top Liberals are being ruthless signaling the provincial budget will proceed with previously announced corporate tax breaks while requiring ministries to cut up to 30 per cent of their costs.  'Bear the pain for future gain' is the current mantra but there won’t be much pain sharing.  Program cuts tend to disproportionately affect the vulnerable while tax increases are shared across the economic strata.  Finding cheaper ways of delivering full time kindergarten, or eliminating it altogether have been floated in the media.  As Pascal told CBC radio, "There are two kinds of policy making—smart and dumb. And cutting full day kindergarten is definitely dumb.""


Corporate Big-Box Child Care, Coming to An Apartment Building Near You
February 2012

Excerpt: "While the company’s website suggests that Edleun centres are focused on improving the quality of the early childhood system, research consistently shows that for-profit programs provide lower quality child care. The rationale for using for-profit operators is typically to reduce the onus on government, legitimized as being more innovative and cost effective.  Research suggests however that non-profit or publicly owned programs are consistently found to provide higher quality services (Cleveland, 2008, Penn, 2010).  The Australian experience demonstrates how a corporate child care monopoly can hold government ransom with regard to oversight, reduced regulations, and increasing parental fees."


In Response to Consultations on the Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program
January 2012

Excerpt: "The Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program (Draft 2010) has been in draft form for the first two years of implementation of the Full Day Kindergarten program, during which time the Ministry of Education has been accepting informal feedback. This response is written as part of the formal two-part review process being conducted by the Ministry.... This critical phase of reviewing and revising the Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the document’s strengths and areas for improvement."


How Research in Early Learning Can Help Make a Decision on Election Day
October 2011

Lots of studies show us that the early years are crucial for how we manage as adults. We have an election coming up tomorrow. We encourage you to think about research findings about our children’s development. Please cast your vote thinking about what matters for our children.


An Investigation of the Career Paths of Internationally Trained Early Childhood Educators Transitioning into Early Learning Programs
August 2011

The current research initiative examines the pathway to employment in the field of early childhood education for internationally trained professionals. In particular, the study's aim is to investigate the experiences of internationally trained professionals in the ECE Bridging Program (first step in the accreditation process in Ontario for internationally trained educators). The study also explored the experiences of participants in applying for jobs prior to and after achieving their ECE equivalency. The second goal was to explore whether international education credentials had any impact on employability. .


OpEd:Not on the Backs of Children
Toronto Star, July 29, 2011

Excerpt: "The children of Toronto had nothing to do with this city’s budget woes but they could end up paying a steep price."

Kerry McCuaig is the Atkinson Policy Fellow at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. For more on this issue, see the commentary by Rick Blickstead of the Wellesley Institute.


City of Toronto Core Service Review
July 2011

Excerpt: "I would like to address three issues before you today.  1. The elimination of child care subsidies; 2. The privatization of city operated child care centres; 3. The elimination of quality controls. From an economic perspective public spending on child care is not consumption.  In the barest of economic terms it is an investment.  Child care delivers multiple benefits to the children and families who use it, but it also plays a multifaceted role in regional economies; as an economic sector in its own right with facilities, employees and consumption from other sectors; as labour force support to working parents; and for the long-term economic impact it has on the next generation of workers."


In Response to "All-Day Classes: Too Much, Too Soon"
June 2011

Excerpt: "The recent news stories in the Windsor Star based on a small scale study by Rachel Heydon, challenging the value and experience of children in full day kindergarten is built on spotty reports from a pilot study in two Ontario classrooms suggesting that the new Full Day Kindergarten program may harm children based on too much academics and too little play. Although recent news stories have acknowledged that a study of two classrooms doesn’t give us a clear picture, some journalists truly believe further study will prove the researchers right."


Children with Special Educational Needs in Early Childhood
June 2011

Excerpt: "All children need supports to achieve their optimal development. All young children need parenting, peer interaction, and educational opportunities in order to develop social skills, language, physical and cognitive competence. For many children with disabilities, this also includes early intervention strategies that might come from medical and clinical intervention, therapeutic interventions and/or family supports that increase resilience where there are risk factors for children and their families..."


Effects of Full-Day K on Rural Child Care
April 2011

Excerpt: "The Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program implementation will have a differentiated impact across the province, particularly in rural communities, where the instability of child care services may result in rural children and families bearing a heavier burden of change compared to their urban peers..."


Response to Bill 173, Amendments to the Education Act
April 2011

Excerpt: "There are three points I would like to share with the committee today which I hope will influence the committee’s proposal to amend the Education Act to allow third party operators to deliver extended day programs. First, the findings from the Toronto First Duty Program demonstrate the critical value in a seamless approach to early learning and family support..."


Experiences of Internationally Educated ECEs
April 2011

Excerpt: "In 2006, The Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (AECEO) launched The Access to Early Childhood Education Program (also referred to as the Bridging Program) in collaboration with the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office and the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College....  Since the program commenced in 2006, just over 100 individuals with international education credentials have completed the equivalency program..."


March Break Looks Bleak for Ontario ECEs
March 2011

Excerpt: "The issue of whether early childhood educators are deemed to be full-time early education professionals like teachers, or whether they are treated as ten-month contract positions is still to be resolved.  According to Service Canada (2011), if early childhood educators are considered full-time salaried teaching staff, they will not qualify for employment insurance.  However..."


Response to the Ontario Best Start Child & Family Centre Consultation
December 2010

Excerpt: "If there was one thing the government could do right now for children and families in Ontario, what could that be?  ....We have an opportunity to build a foundation for services for children and their families – but that means making a radical move toward something different and innovative.   It means moving away from the rhetoric of business as usual, working within the silos that fit like an old sweater but are starting to smell a little mouldy."


The Cost-Benefits of Ontario's Early Learning Program
August 30, 2010

Robert Fairholm, a director of the Centre for Spatial Economics (CSE), brings his 20 years of experience in economic analysis, modeling and forecasting to quantify the benefits of new public spending on young children revealing some startling findings.


Symposium: Pedagogical Leadership: Lead From Where You Stand
February 1, 2010

The Atkinson Centre joined Ryerson University, George Brown College, and the Child Care Resource and Research Unit in sponsoring a Symposium on "Pedagogical Leadership: Lead From Where You Stand" to discuss the recommendations for staffing Ontario's new Early Learning Programs and Child and Family Centre.


Atkinson Letter


Research Bulletins

  • Research Bulletin: Playing Favorites is Bad for Child Health
    Excerpt: "In a study recently published in Social Sciences and Medicine, PhD student Dillon Browne and psychologist Jennifer Jenkins sought to determine if being a disfavored sibling can have negative consequences in terms of general health. Browne and Jenkins followed 501 families over a period of 18 months as part of an investigation called the Kids, Families, Places Study, led by Dr. Jenkins at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education..."
     
  • Research Bulletin: Playing Favorites is Bad for Everyone
    Excerpt: "In a study recently published in the journal of Developmental Psychology, psychologist Jean-Christophe Meunier and his colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education tested to see if playing favorites, as a family style, has negative consequences for all children in the family, rather than just the disfavored child."
     
  • Research Bulletin: Siblings Teaching Siblings
    Excerpt: "Research demonstrates that young children teach one another, showing individual differences in the amount of teaching they do and the strategies they use. There is a special teacher-learner relationship among siblings, in particular.... We developed a measure to capture teaching between siblings when the youngest child was age 3 and their older sibling between 4-8 years old..."
     
  • Research Bulletin: Genes, Experience and Parenting Behaviour
    Excerpt: "In a recent study, Dr. Rossana Bisceglia and her colleagues wanted to see what factors affected mothers' ability to provide sensitive care to their children. The hypothesis was that both biological and environmental variables would impact mothers’ sensitivity, and that certain combinations of factors would be more detrimental to parenting than others."

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