On June 8, 2015 the Ministry of Education did something significant. The impact on the Ontario ECEs will be lasting. It was on that date that the Ministry released a policy statement identifying How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years (2014) as the document to be used for guiding licensed child care programs. The policy statement also directed every child care program licensee to develop a program statement that is consistent with the programming and pedagogy described in How Does Learning Happen? – and, it must be reviewed annually.
In short, these directives from the Ministry mean that every Ontario ECE professional in every licensed child care and early years program will be required to understand and articulate the content of How Does Learning Happen?; to use it to guide practice; and, to reflect on its value in strengthening program quality, ultimately, for the purpose of fostering “children’s learning, development, health and well-being” (Ministry of Education, 2014, p.12).
The AECEO has prepared this article for the purpose of describing how these new responsibilities will involve a momentous intellectual and collaborative undertaking by the 46,000+ registered members of the College of Early Childhood Educators in Ontario (CECE, 2015). In this article we ask, and then offer some responses to, a critical question:
- What structural supports are needed to ensure that ECE professionals have the capacity to successfully implement How Does Learning Happen?
As well, in the spirit of How Does Learning Happen?, we ask a few other provocative questions to stimulate dialogue and discussion about the status quo and the need for systemic change so that new policy directives can be implemented successfully.