The ECDI categories
The 19 benchmarks selected for the ECE Report are ordered into five categories:
- Governance: Four benchmarks look at policy and operational oversight—is it split between multiple departments, or does it have coherent direction, a common policy framework with goals, timelines and consistent support for service providers?
- Funding: Three benchmarks examine the adequacy of funding and its influence on supporting program quality and equitable access.
- Access: Three benchmarks assess the numbers of children attending ECE programs and if barriers to participation are addressed.
- Learning environment: Six benchmarks examine whether curriculum, program standards and trained and adequate staffing support the quality of programming.
- Accountability: Three benchmarks assess whether provinces are meeting their reporting commitments and have standards for program quality, and the monitoring and reporting of child outcomes.
Each category is assigned 3 points for a possible total of 15. Full and half points are assigned with the intention of providing equal weight to each category.
Assigning marks for benchmarks
Benchmarks are not aspirational goals; instead, they express the basic requirements that jurisdictions should meet to establish and maintain acceptable quality and access in their early childhood systems. For this reason, partial marks are not assigned. A mark was given if policies are in place or if the province has embarked on a particular initiative with a commitment to take it system-wide. For example, New Brunswick has aligned its French language kindergarten program and ECE curriculum and is working on doing the same in its English language section. Similarly, full-day kindergarten in Ontario is only available in French language schools and in 20 percent of English language schools, but the government is committed to universal access by 2014. Therefore, a mark was assigned for the respective benchmarks. Many jurisdictions have ambitious plans for their ECE systems, however if these polices are still at the discussion stage, a mark was not assigned at this time. Future efforts and commitments will be reflected in future iterations of the ECE Report. A complete review of provincial/territorial ECE policies and programming may be found under
The evidence for each benchmark is included in of EYS 3. Where applicable, summaries are provided in figures throughout the chapter and noted in parentheses with the rationale for each benchmark.
- Developing the Report
- The influence of the OECD and other international measures
- The ECDI categories
- I. Benchmarks focused on governance for integrated early childhood education
- II. Benchmarks focused on funding to promote quality, access and equity
- III. Benchmarks focused on equitable access
- IV. Benchmarks focusing on quality in the early learning environment
- V. Benchmarks focused on accountability
- Next Steps for the Early Childhood Education Report 2011
- Download Report