TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - The federal government may have ended the
national child care plan in 2007 but that hasn't stopped the provinces
from making progress, a new report released today in Toronto and
Montreal reveals. "Our report shows we may be developing a Canadian
early learning and child care program one province at a time," says the
report's co-author, the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain.
Early Years Study 3 is the third in a trio of reports on the state of early childhood
learning by Mrs. McCain and world leading scientist Dr. J. Fraser
Mustard who died last week. The study provides the social, economic
and scientific rationale for public investments in young children and
recommends that all children be entitled to an early education from age
"Our contemporaries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) have changed the discussion from the need to mind
the children of working parents, to stimulating all children," the
report reads. "Driven by a massive body of research that points to
the importance of the early years for future health, behavior and
learning, they have invested heavily in early childhood programs,
largely by including younger children in public education."
The Early Years Study 3 introduces the Early Childhood Education Index,
a tool that examines the state of early education across the
provinces. "The index allows us to go beyond counting spaces and
adding up dollars, to ask if public funding is being spent effectively
to ensure the programs children attend are good," says Kerry McCuaig,
fellow in early childhood policy at the Atkinson Centre, Ontario
Institute for Studies in Education and the third author on the report.
Three provinces passed the halfway mark on the Index's 15-point scale.
Quebec comes in first with 10 points, closely followed by Prince Edward
Island with 9.5 and Manitoba with 7.5. The other provinces range
between 1.5 and 6.5 points. "This represents progress," Ms. McCuaig
observed. "If the assessment was conducted as recently as three years
ago, only Quebec would have stood on the podium."
Today provinces spend over $7.5 billion on early education programs - a
100 percent increase over the last assessment the OECD did in 2004.
Across Canada over 50 percent of 2 to 4-year-olds now regularly attend
a program - more than twice as many as the OECD found in 2004. In
addition provinces have taken steps to strengthen early education by
rationalizing oversight, improving program quality and addressing the
low wages of early childhood educators.
"The big story behind the Index is high-quality, publicly-funded
preschool education for all 2- to 5-year-olds is not a utopian fantasy,
it is built on the assets we already have in public
education. Much of the groundwork has been laid, many of the tools have
been developed and most provinces still have ambitious plans to put in
place," said Mrs. McCain.
EYS 3 and related documents are available at earlyyearsstudy.ca and pointsurlapetiteenfance.org.
For French language interviews outside Quebec, Linda Lowther,
SOURCE Better Child Care Education/Toronto First Duty
For further information:
Toronto: Allison Black, Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 647.283.6403
Montreal: Jean Serge Grisé, Directeur, Communications et Affaires publiques, Fondation
Lucie et André Chagnon, email@example.com, 514.816.7520