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Conditions for moving beyond “quality” in Canadian early childhood education: An occasional paper

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Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory
Publication Date: 
1 Dec 2020

Excerpts from introduction

Since 2004, Canadian early childhood education has struggled to respond to key recommendations for the field. A report commissioned by the Canadian government to assess, for the OECD, the state of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Canada identified four main challenges: (1) to formulate a unified vision for ECEC across the country; (2) to create a coherent system that supports parental labour force participation, healthy child development, and populations needing particular supports; (3) to build on what is known about achieving quality; and (4) to foster collaboration among the federal, provincial/territorial and local governments and between these governments and Indigenous communities (Doherty, Friendly, & Beach, 2004, p. 12). Many provinces and territories have made inroads in engaging with the report’s recommendations, most notably Quebec with its implementation of a universally funded and publicly managed system. In terms of quality, however, most Canadian jurisdictions have failed to move past discussions of quality as an issue of school readiness and survival in a poorly funded system. During these challenging times when pedagogical leadership is sorely needed (Peeters et al., 2015), Canada is being challenged to imagine early childhood education beyond a service delivery model that defines quality as a product.

Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory is a hybrid experimental space where educators and pedagogues trace and experiment with the contours, conditions, and complexities of early childhood education pedagogies in the 21st century. On behalf of the Collaboratory, this discussion of pedagogical work in Canada has been cowritten by Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Kathleen Kummen, Cristina Delgado Vintimilla, Denise Hodgins, Narda Nelson, Cory Jobb, Meagan Montpetit, Sylvia Kind, Fikile Nxumalo, Iris Berger, Randa Khattar, Bo Sun Kim, Nicole Land, Kelly-Ann MacAlpine, Laurie Kocher, Kim Atkinson, Sherry-Lynn Yazbeck, Alex Berry, and Ildikó Danis.