Schools at the Centre Study

Atkinson Centre

The Schools at the Centre study explores the impact of full day kindergarten and extended hours programming on educators, families and early years administrators in three Ontario regions. By exploring the processes and partnerships developed between school boards, regional governments and community organizations the researchers were able to uncover lessons to inform policy and practice. The aim of the study is to strengthen child and family centred services in communities.

Does play-based kindergarten help children academically?

OISE - Jenny Hall

When the kids in a kindergarten class that OISE professor Angela Pyle was observing recently decided to set up a bank, she paid close attention. The idea came from a combination of things: The teacher had been teaching the group directly about money, and the mother of one of the students had recently started working at a bank. After some discussion with the teacher, the kids launched “The Money Bank.” The teacher asked the children what resources they needed and, after providing them, stepped away.

“The children started making signs,” says Pyle. “They posted the hours of operation. They made name tags. One of the kids made a chart listing the different coins and their value for kids who didn’t know.”

Let ‘Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play In Kindergarten

Holly Korbey 

For the typical American kindergartner, unstructured free play during the school day consists of 20 to 30 minutes of recess, and perhaps some time at indoor “stations” — perhaps creating with building blocks, costumes, or musical instruments. But what if there was more? What if the answer to “what did you do in school today?” was, “I climbed a tree, played in the mud, built a fire”?

That is exactly the kind of learning going on in the Swiss Waldkindergartens, or forest kindergartens, where children ages four to seven spend all of their school days playing outdoors, no matter the weather. With no explicit math or literacy taught until first grade, the Swiss have no set goals for kindergartners beyond a few measurements, like using scissors and writing one’s own name. They instead have chosen to focus on the social interaction and emotional well-being found in free play.

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Male preschool teachers in short supply - New Zealand  - January 13, 2015

In a profession where men are increasingly rare at all levels, they are some of the 2 per cent of men teaching in New Zealand's preschools, according to the Ministry of Education.

Figures released earlier this month show the number of male teachers has continued to drop during the past 10 years. In 2013, men made up 41.2 per cent of teachers at secondary schools and only 16.5 per cent at primary schools.


Canada's Child Care Workforce

Shani Halfon, October 2014

This brief summarizes what is known about the childcare workforce in Canada, the implications of this for regulated childcare, and identifies some considerations and strategies to address the ongoing issues and improve the overall state of ECEC. A summary of the relevant research and data leads to the conclusion that a coordinated and comprehensive strategy is needed to address the multiple and interconnected variables that impact the working conditions of those in the childcare workforce.

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The woman pushing for better care for Ontario children

By:  Toronto Star - Dec 28 2014

Imagine a big city daycare with a goat, a sheep and a flock of chickens. Real ones.

When Carolyn Ferns happened upon the children and their child-care teacher taking the goat for a walk, she knew anything was possible.

“I thought, what is this? This is fantastic,” recalls Ferns of the extraordinary scene in the Swedish city of Lund, where she was taking a university gap year in the early 2000s.

Ferns thinks about that daycare often in her new role as head of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, the voice of non-profit, affordable child care in the province.

Read more at Toronto Star

ACCESSIBLE OUTDOORS: Kids with Social, Emotional and Physical Disabilities Go Outside!

By Kathy Ambrosini on December 27th, 2014


Children and Nature Network
Accessible nature outings are all around us, there for the taking, for the children who stand to benefit from them the most.

Whether you’re sharing the outdoors with an individual, family, social or school group, it’s exciting to watch these kids develop new coping strategies and shake loose the grip of their symptoms while they enjoy, explore, play and connect in nature.


Walking in Place: Cultivating Ecological Identity in Young Children -- and in Ourselves

An invitation to early years educators to be outdoors in their bodies and in the body of the Earth

By Diane Kashin

The York Region Nature Collaborative (YRNC) is a new organization dedicated to enhancing experiences for children to learn in nature and to develop an ecological identity. We are grateful for the sponsorship of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in providing us with the venues that support learning in nature for young children, families and educators. We launched our first event “A Family Adventure Walk in the Forest” in October 2014 and with over 200 children and their families we celebrated nature through play and inquiry at the beautiful Kortright Conservation Centre Inspired by the day and the desire to offer more events for free for children and their families, we are planning a conference for educators – May 23rd, 2015 with the renowned author and early childhood educator, Ann Pelo.


Winter eceLINK 2014/15

Winter_2014_eceLink-web_1__1.jpgThe latest issue of our eceLINK publication is now available ONLINE on our website in the Professional Portal.

In this Issue:

  • AECEO Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy
  • New ECCDC Pilot Project
  • Spotlight on Long-time Members
  • And more....

Click here to read


Early Childhood Australia

The three videos in this collection highlight and showcase selected examples of significant learning in the birth-to-three-years period. The aim is to make babies’ and toddlers’ learning visible and, by doing so, to expand awareness and appreciation of it. As a result, professionals will look more closely, reflect on what babies’ and toddlers’ behaviour means, adopt an image of babies and toddlers as capable and competent learners, and enact this image in their work.

Download the information booklet to read more.

Click here to visit Early Childhood Australia and view videos

We’re ruining our kids with Minecraft: The case for unstructured play

We are in the process of making a giant mistake on behalf of our children.  With all the right intentions, American parents are depriving their kids of the time and space to develop their imaginations, and the ability to make something out of nothing—the very heart of innovation and competitiveness. A new study by Radio Flyer and ReD Associates shows the alarming consequences of over-parenting. With the holiday season upon us, parents face a familiar dilemma: which toys will capture our kids’ imaginations, stoke their interests, and keep them endlessly entertained? Think twice before you put that box of wooden blocks in your shopping cart.

Read more....

Concerns rise about future of daycares in federal buildings

Some Ottawa daycares struggle to balance books after rent subsidy cut

Several Ottawa daycare centres operating out of federal government buildings worry about their financial future after a decision to rescind the policy to subsidize daycare rents.

Read full article at

Science of Early Child Development--What is Executive Function

December issue: What is executive function?

Executive function refers to a set of mental skills that are coordinated in the brain's frontal lobe. Executive functions work together to help each of us achieve our goals. Caregivers can support the development of a child’s executive function skills by establishing routines, modeling social behavior, and creating and maintaining supportive, reliable relationships.

The Science of Early Child Development is a multi-media, multi-edition interactive educational resource designed to share the science and information about the vital importance of the early years.

Visit Science of Early Childhood Development website

In Search of Evidence

November, 2014 
Charles E. Pascal, Former Ontario Deputy Minister & Professor of Human Development OISE/University of Toronto

Inspired by the late Fraser Mustard, a report was recently released regarding the progress of early childhood education in Canada. This report provides a stark contrast between this remarkable man of science and one of our nation’s leading evidence-avoiders, Stephen Harper.

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AECEO Responds to Bill 10, Child Care Modernization Act


REGARDING Bill 10: An Act to enact the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, to repeal the Day Nurseries Act, to amend the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007, the Education Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts

Submitted November 18, 2014

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) commends the government’s actions to improve child care in Ontario with the new child care legislation put forward in Bill 10, the Child Care Modernization Act. The short notice and limited time for formal consultation on the proposed legislation is disappointing, as this is a once in a generation opportunity to fundamentally change the state of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ontario. The AECEO is hopeful that the government will engage in a more comprehensive consultation process with the ECEC sector to establish a new regulatory framework for child care programs in Ontario. 

The protective measures put forward in Bill 10 are necessary to ensure the basic health and safety of Ontario’s children. These measures, however, do not move away from a complaint based process for monitoring illegal and unsafe unregulated home child care. The AECEO believes that all children should have access to regulated child care and that the government should make immediate plans and investments to create more high quality regulated child care spaces.

New legislation is a necessary component of a high quality child care system. However, legislation alone is not sufficient for the development and sustainability of a high quality child care system. In addition to new legislation, we urge the government to undertake a more robust policy process in order to develop a comprehensive policy framework that lays out the province’s intentions, rationales, short and long-term plans, and funding and evaluation mechanisms for a system of regulated child care.

Click here to read full response

Child Care Modernization Act, Bill 10 passes 3rd reading

On December 2, 2014, Bill 10, the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.

The legislation will strengthen oversight of the province's unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options for families. In addition, it will allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child's safety is at risk.

The Child Care Modernization Act also:

  • Gives the province the authority to issue administrative penalties of up to $100,000 per infraction by a child care provider.
  • Increases the maximum penalty for illegal offences under the act from $2,000 to $250,000.
  • Increases the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six.
  • Clarifies what programs and activities are exempt from licensing requirements, including care provided by relatives, babysitters, nannies and camps that provide programs for school-age children.
  • Requires all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four to be licensed as a child care centre.
  • Amends the Education Act to ensure school boards offer before- and after-school programs for 6 to12 year-olds where there is sufficient demand.
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What is PLAY and Why is it Important?

Play Wales, November 2014

Much has been written about play. It is generally agreed that it is one of the most complex activities we engage in. In this information sheet we endeavour to draw together the most widely respected statements on play to provide a rounded and comprehensive analysis.

Click here for full report


Child Care in Canada by 2020: A vision and a way forward

A discussion paper for Canada’s 4th national child care policy conference, ChildCare2020

Fa m i l i e s i n C a n a d a desperately need access to early childhood education and child care services that only a comprehensive system can provide. The key to building this system is the same today as it has been for many years: The federal government must step up to the plate. Provincial/territorial programs on their own will continue to evolve in painful, slow steps leaving many parents unable to find or afford quality programs for their children. As this discussion document shows, it doesn’t—and shouldn’t—have to be this way.

Read on to see what federal leadership and dedicated, accountable investment in a child care system could accomplish by 2020.

Click here to read full report

Neuroscience Improves Early Childhood Education Quality

President, Families and Work Institute, Author, "Mind in the Making"
Who doesn't want the education and care for young children to be high quality? Parents look for it, advocates fight for it, policy makers debate it. But just what is it?

Quality has remained somewhat of a black box in early education, but a just-released study conducted by New York University researchers is opening up the box. They tested the impact of a curriculum based on findings from neuroscience revealing that promoting executive function life skills enhances children's engagement and success in school and in life.

Read more at Huffington Post

Getting Kids Outdoors: The nature of boys

From the moment they come into this world, boys have an appetite and energy that does not stop. One minute they are laughing and playing together, the next they're wrestling and fists and toys are flailing across the room. As a mom of two boys, I admit at first I did everything to keep the peace and prevent any and all outbursts, outbreaks and outlaw-ish behavior. I didn't want to raise rough, rowdy boys, instead I wanted sensitive, respectful and loving young men. Not that I have given up on the sensitive, respectful and loving part — which they most definitely can be — but it took a while to accept that boys need opportunities that allow them to be boys. It's in their DNA to run, wrestle and conquer and they will do anything to be king of the mountain even if it is just a pile of dirt. Boys need space to do the things boys love to do, and an outlet to release the unbelievable amount of energy they have. Fortunately, the outdoors has the space and nature has the patience and durability to let boys be boys. 


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