Educational childcare has a triple mission: see to the well-being, health and safety of the children entrusted to them; offer them a living environment conducive to stimulating their development on all levels, from birth until they start school; prevent the subsequent appearance of difficulties in learning, behaviour or social integration.
Three types of environments offer these services: childcare centre (CPE), daycare centres and home childcare.
In this context, childcare centres (CPE), home childcare provides and daycare centres, together with their representative associations and the Ministère de la Famille and the Home Childcare Coordinating Offices, work continually to ensure the health, safety and well-being of children and offer them quality childcare services.
Regardless of their mode of organization, all regulated childcare environments are subject to the Educational Childcare Act and its regulations. This legal framework specifies the minimum standards to ensure the quality of services.
Thus, regardless of whether they offer their services in childcare centres (CPE), daycare centres or home childcare, all childcare providers must apply an educational program.
A quality childcare service is capable of recognizing and responding to the children's needs. This is also a service that intervenes with children and takes into account each child's stage of development. One or more adults work as a team with the parents of the children who attend it.
The following are the main dimensions of quality childcare:
- the quality of the interventions;
- the interaction of the educators or the home childcare provider with the children, i.e. adding value to the children's play through their interaction, democratic intervention and the support provided to the child in learning responsibilities and solving problems, listening and the strategies used to stimulate the children's expression;
- the continuity between the family and the childcare service, i.e. the collaboration and the constructive relationships educators or the home childcare provider must establish with the parents to provide quality service to the child;
- the quality of the premises, i.e. the extent to which the layout corresponds to the children's interests and needs and stimulates their development by giving them direct access to varied appropriate and safe material;
- the quality of the activities, i.e. the organization of the schedule, the planning of activities and the activities integrated into the services, including the regularity of the basic schedule, the possibility for the children to make choices, and the variations of the modes of supervision of children.
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