Early childhood experts agree that this period is crucial for a child’s overall development. Attendance at a good quality childcare or day care centre fosters child development because it is the first link in the chain of successful education. Childcare services therefore have an important mission, that of laying down the foundations for the development of tomorrow’s adults. Good quality interventions at the appropriate time provide opportunities to correct delays and gaps before they lead to personal, social and academic development difficulties.
The Ministère de la Famille (Ministère) plays a key role in ensuring the quality of the educational services available to young children (0-5 years of age). It fulfills this role through its legislative and regulatory framework, its financial measures and its publications to support quality interventions in every type of childcare service.
Since December 8, 2017, all childcare service providers (childcare centres, subsidized and non-subsidized day care centres and home childcare providers) are required to take part in the process to assess and improve educational quality, as set out in section 5.1 of the Educational Childcare Act. The Ministère is responsible for overseeing the application of this Act.
The Ministère’s role is therefore to make sure all children in all types of childcare receive good quality educational services that help them to develop in a harmonious way and foster their educational success. Quality must be present throughout the service, i.e in interactions and planning as well as in the layout of the premises.
The assessment process covers the application of every aspect of educational quality, as described in the Ministère’s reference document entitled
Accueillir la petite enfance (available in French only). It is not a compliance inspection (health and safety rules), staff performance review or child development assessment, but serves as a complement to the inspections carried out by the Ministère.
The process will be implemented gradually throughout the network. The first implementation phase started in spring 2019, and included childcare services and day care services hosting groups of children aged 3 to 5.
Educational quality assessments for home childcare providers will be implemented at a later date.
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