Quality by Design working document:

Elements of a high quality early learning and child care system. [pdf, 8pp, 241KB]


Coordinated program administration that includes…

· Policy, planning and program delivery organized in one lead department

· Legislation as a basis for the system

· Regulation defining minimum standards

· Monitoring to ensure standards are met

· Mechanisms for ongoing quality improvement

· Ongoing consultation and assessment of ELCC programs

· Public education about early learning and child care

The conceptual framework is brought to life through coordinated administrative mechanisms that put the system in place. According to research from the OECD, high quality services are more likely when there is a common policy framework with consistent infrastructure across the whole ELCC system. Infrastructure is by its nature a government function although it is appropriate to involve other key players - from parents to children to researchers - in some parts of the process.

A Canadian consensus (and indeed, an international consensus) is emerging that the traditional split between “care” and “education” with its duplication and fragmentation for children and parents no longer makes sense given knowledge of how children develop and the needs of today’s families. The wisdom of coordinated policy development, planning and program administration for ELCC have been identified in the policy literature and is the norm in many other countries.

As well as this “horizontal coordination”, the political arrangements of the Canadian federation require us also to consider “vertical coordination” among the different levels of government – federal, provincial/territorial and local. Foundational federal legislation would be an important part of a coordinated approach.

In Canada, provincial/territorial child care legislation, regulations and non-legislated guidelines and policy are the basis for service delivery. They define services covered, age groups served, operators of services and their legal obligations, financing, program standards such as staff training, physical space requirements, monitoring and consultation and sanctions for non-compliance. They could be strengthened as well as expanded to include mechanisms for ongoing quality improvement and program assessment.



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