Frequently asked questions
What is the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation (MWMFF)?
The Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation Inc. is a champion of high quality early childhood education for all young children in Canada. The aim of the foundation is to increase public investment in early childhood education systems that feature sound governance, quality learning environments, and qualified educators.mwmccain.ca
What is early childhood education (ECE)?
Early childhood education consists of programs for young children based on an explicit curriculum and pedagogy, delivered by qualified staff, and designed to support children’s development and learning. Settings may include child care centres, HeadStart, nursery schools, preschools, pre or junior kindergarten, playgroups, family resource centres, and kindergarten. Attendance is regular and children may participate on their own, or with a parent or caregiver.
What is an early childhood educator?
Early childhood educators work directly with children in early childhood education settings, have early childhood education (ECE) post-secondary education credentials, and are recognized by provincial/territorial legislation.
What is universal ECE?
Universal ECE offers opportunities for all children to participate in an early education programs. Universal access, with special outreach to marginalized groups, promotes social and economic integration, consistent quality, and positive peer effects among children from different backgrounds. Publicly funded, universal ECE isn’t necessarily free, but it is affordable to all parents.
What is the peer effect?
Children benefit from, and are influenced by, relationships and interactions with each other. This is referred to as the peer effect. When children negotiate and share with each other during play, they become friends who share imaginary worlds, discover how things work, and create art together. Good quality ECE promotes positive peer effects among children from different backgrounds.
What is the difference between ECE and daycare?
Daycare is often associated with ‘babysitting’ whose primary purpose is to support parents’ work and is more custodial in focus. The educational component of daycare is secondary. ECE’s primary purpose is children’s early learning while it supports parents to work.
What is the difference between informal, licensed, and centre-based child care?
Informal care takes place in a private home with no public oversight. Home and centre-based child care is regulated by provincial and territorial governments with programming, safety, and staffing requirements. This includes regulated limits on the child-to-staff ratio.
What are ‘the first 1000 days’?
The first 1000 days – from conception to age 2 – sets a foundation for brain development. Neural networks for seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching begin to form before babies are born and are well established by age 2. Infants go from babbling to using real words, from gazing into the distance to eye contact, from moving their fingers to pointing and waving.
What are ‘the second 1000 days’?
The second 1000 days - the preschool years - establishes the foundation for reading, mathematics, science and creative arts, and sets children up to be learners for life. Between about 2 and 5 years, the brain circuits between the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain. This enables children to build the tightly connected well-being, thinking, and language skills needed to acquire essential cultural tools for daily living.
What is preschool?
Preschool can refer to all children prior to entry to school or specifically to children aged 2 to 4 years. It may also refer to early childhood education programs typically offered for children from ages 2 to 4.
What is self-regulation?
Self-regulation refers to the human ability to manage our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It allows young children to cope positively with challenges and new experiences, form secure relationships, and get along with others. Self-regulation is a precursor to acquiring other essential skills that children need to thrive throughout their lives. Quality ECE environments support children’s capacity for self-regulation and getting along well with other children.
What is a vulnerable child?
Vulnerable children are those who are experiencing learning, behaviour, or health difficulties that are likely to interfere with their later academic and life success. Children are assessed for vulnerability in kindergarten using the Early Development Instrument (EDI) tool. Vulnerability at age 5 is often a predictor of problems in later school years and beyond.
What is the Early Development Instrument (EDI)?
The Early Development Instrument is an assessment of children’s development from the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University. Completed by kindergarten teachers, the EDI measures a child’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental benchmarks in physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, communication skills, and general knowledge.
What is play-based learning?
Play-based learning provides opportunities for children to develop a sense of the world around them through inquiry, exploration, interaction and problem solving. ECE embraces different play-based learning approaches that share a common view of children as active, competent, creative, and inquisitive learners.
What is the continuum of play?
Developed at the Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at OISE, University of Toronto, the continuum includes five distinct categories of play: learning through games, playful learning, collaboratively created play, inquiry play, and free play. Each presents important opportunities for personal, social, and academic growth. The continuum helps to enhance the practice of play-based learning approaches for early childhood educators and primary teachers.playlearninglab.ca
What is Employment Insurance (EI)?
Employment Insurance (EI) is a federally-run government program that provides income support to unemployed Canadians while they seek employment or upgrade their skills. It also provides maternity and parental benefits during pregnancy and to those caring for newborns and newly adopted children.
What is the the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)?
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment made by the federal government to eligible families with children under 18 years of age. It is intended to help with the cost of raising children.
What is the Early Childhood Education Report (ECER)?
The Early Childhood Education Report is an assessment of provincial and territorial frameworks for early childhood education in Canada. It is made up of 19 benchmarks, organized into five equally weighted categories evaluating governance structures, funding levels, access, quality in early learning environments, and monitoring mechanisms. The ECER is produced every three years by the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, in consultation with provincial, territorial, and federal government officials.
What is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)?
The OECD is a group of 35 democratic countries that discuss, monitor, and develop economic and social policy. Its stated goals include fostering economic development and cooperation, fighting poverty, and ensuring the environmental impact of growth and social development is always considered.oecd.org
How does Canada measure up compared to other OECD countries around early learning?
Only one in two Canadian children age 5 and younger regularly attend an early childhood education program. Canada currently ranks in the bottom 10% of 35 OECD* countries where ECE enrolment for children 5 and younger averages 70%. This puts Canada in the bottom third in spending and access to early learning compared with other OECD countries. Canadian parents also pay more for early education than most other higher income countries: 19% of net income (the OECD average is 12%).
*OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
What must Canada do to reach the OECD average ECE enrolment?
In order for Canada to meet the 70% OECD enrolment average, it needs to invest an additional $8 billion annually. The bulk of funding for ECE currently comes from provincial governments. Since the federal government benefits most from tax revenues that accrue when more parents enter the workforce, it would be appropriate for most of the shortfall to come from federal funding. To manage expansion, federal spending should increase by $1 billion per year.
Why connect ECE to the publicly funded school system?
Bringing early learning programs into existing school facilities would be less costly than creating an entirely new early years system from the ground up. A natural starting point would be the implementation of full day kindergarten for 4 year olds across all provinces and territories and then gradually including younger aged children. This would bridge the gap between parental leave and formal schooling.
What is the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework?
The Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework is a mechanism to flow federal funding to provinces and territories. It focuses on creating child care services for vulnerable families including those marginalized by geography, income, family status, language, non-standard work, disability, or culture. It includes a commitment to improve data collection and information about the status of early learning and child care. A complementary framework was developed for Indigenous early learning and child care.
What is a ‘double dividend’?
When organized to facilitate parents’ work, ECE creates a ‘double dividend’ that simultaneously supports a child’s early learning and their parents’ workforce participation. Parents can then upgrade their skills, earn more, pay taxes, and draw less on social programs. Children who participate in high quality ECE have better academic outcomes, draw less on special education, are more likely to attend post-secondary schooling and go on to make their own economic and social contributions.
How can ECE break poverty cycles?
Families that have fewer opportunities and resources often find it difficult to set their children up for success. As a result, poverty is passed on. Quality early childhood education can help break this cycle. When ECE is organized to support today’s workforce, it enhances opportunities for parents to work, reducing poverty, and boosting equity.
How does ECE reduce gender and income inequality?
Caregiving restricts women’s access to the workforce contributing to their over-representation in contract, temporary or part-time jobs. Access to affordable ECE allows women to take part in paid employment, gives them a broader social network, and makes them less likely to fall behind in their profession.
How does ECE promote diversity?
ECE brings together children from different social and cultural backgrounds. Diversity is a key part of the early learning context and early education programs can help strengthen solidarity within communities across class, ethnic, and racial lines. Consequently, ECE programs can be a central point for newcomer and refugee families making children and families part of civil society and helping build social cohesion at the community level.
What is the return on public investment for ECE?
Economists estimate that every one public dollar spent on ECE yields a $6 return over the lifetime of a child through increased maternal labour force participation, social equity for marginalized children, and better educational outcomes Children who attend a quality ECE program also have better health outcomes.
What is SEN (Special Educational Needs)?
Special education (SEN) refers to the needs of children with learning or developmental challenges making it harder for them to learn than most children their age. These challenges range from mild to severe and include developmental gaps to clinical diagnoses.
How can ECE divert children from special education (SEN)?
Participation in ECE can help reduce language delays, behaviour challenges, and learning disabilities. Also, the earlier in life learning difficulties are identified, the quicker they can be assessed and addressed. Research has shown that ECE reduces the intensity of SEN in the school system.
What is SES (socio-economic status)?
Socio-economic status (SES) is the social and economic standing of individuals or groups. SES typically includes a combination of measures of education, income, and occupation.
What are socio-economic gradients?
While children in all socio-economic grouping experience difficulties, the greatest proportion of children with challenges are found in the lowest socio-economic groups. However, the greatest numbers of children with difficulties are found in the middle socio-economic groupings because these middle groups have the largest population of children. The gradient is the step-by-step relationship between children’s outcomes and their socio-economic status.