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What do we know about quality in early learning and child care, and what do we think? A literature review

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Quality by Design Working Document
Friendly, Martha; Doherty, Gillian & Beach, Jane
Publication Date: 
10 Mar 2006

Excerpts from the report: Quality by Design is an exploratory project of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, University of Toronto. It is intended to stimulate dialogue about quality early learning and child care (ELCC) in Canada, focusing primarily on the policy or system level rather than at the level of individual programs. The project aims to encourage debate about the current ELCC situation in Canada, to broaden knowledge about best practices in policy and to stimulate further thinking about the best ways to simultaneously care for young children and support their families. This literature review is one part of the Quality by Design project. It reviews the literature on ideas, research, policy and practice vis-à-vis quality in ELCC and is as much about what we think as what we know. The literature represented is drawn from three main sources: the relatively small number of Canadian research and policy documents pertinent to quality issues; the empirical research literature which is primarily from the United States and tends to be focused at the individual program most part concerned with conceptions of quality and quality at the system level. Thus, while the Quality by Design project focuses on quality at the system-wide policy level rather than at the level of individual programs, the literature reviewed is concerned both with the individual program level and the system, or policy, level.