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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 167–189 | Cite as

Integration of Child Care and Education in Canada: A Comparison with Sweden, New Zealand, England and Wales

  • Gordon ClevelandEmail author
  • Susan Colley
Original Article

Abstract

Starting Strong (2001) and Starting Strong II (2006), the OECD Reports on early childhood education services in 20 countries, emphasized the need for governments to take steps to integrate early childhood education and care services: child care and kindergarten in particular. Integration has become a policy agenda that would meld the best of both worlds. It would increase the amount and quality of resources that are dedicated to out-of-home services for young children before school, ensure that these services are universally accessible as a right, and of low cost to parents, with stable employment for well-qualified staff able to implement a flexible, well-designed, play-based curriculum. In most countries with integrated systems, this has occurred under the aegis of education authorities, making it more likely that providers will be either public or not-for-profit agencies, dedicated to continual improvement in serving the interests of children rather than the objective of private gain. This paper compares Canadian developments in integration to those in Sweden, New Zealand, England and Wales. Context and history make the issues of integration somewhat different in Canada than in these countries. Overall, integration of early childhood education and care services in Canada is less developed than in Europe, but this paper reviews some promising recent reforms. In particular, the language of integration has been adopted widely by advocates, bureaucrats and some policy makers in Canada and a number of provinces have moved the administration and policy-making functions of child care services into the education ministry. However, Québec’s low-fee child care reforms are built upon a traditional split system of services. Ontario’s reforms of services for 4- and 5-year olds are very important, but partial. Prince Edward Island has planned a more fully integrated new early education system, but the transition has only recently begun. This paper analyses context, history and political factors that have shaped Canada’s experiences of integration until now.

Keywords

Integration Child care Kindergarten Early childhood education Preschool Early childhood care and education 

Résumè

Les rapports Starting Strong (2001) et Starting Strong II (2006) de l’OCDE, sur les services d’éducation à la petite enfance dans 20 pays, soulignaient que les gouvernements doivent prendre des mesures pour intégrer les services d’éducation et de garde à la petite enfance, notamment les garderies et les maternelles. L’intégration est devenue un objectif politique visant à fusionner le meilleur des deux mondes. Cela augmenterait la quantité et la qualité des ressources consacrées aux services hors du domicile pour les jeunes enfants avant l’école, permettrait l’exercice d’un droit en rendant ces services accessibles à tous, à faible coût pour les parents, et donnerait un emploi stable à du personnel bien qualifié, capable de mettre en place un programme bien conçu, flexible, basé sur le jeu. Dans la plupart des pays ayant des systèmes intégrés, cela s’est fait sous l’égide des autorités de l’éducation, les fournisseurs étant alors plus susceptibles d’être publics ou sans but lucratif, voués à l’amélioration continue dans le but de servir les intérêts de l’enfant plutôt que celui du profit privé. Cet article compare l’évolution en matière d’intégration au Canada à celle de la Suède, de la Nouvelle-Zélande, de l’Angleterre et du Pays de Galles. Le contexte et l’histoire rendent les enjeux de l’intégration quelque peu différents au Canada par rapport à ces pays. Dans l’ensemble, l’intégration des services d’éducation et de garde de la petite enfance au Canada est moins avancée qu’en Europe, mais ce texte passe en revue de prometteuses réformes récentes. En particulier, le discours de l’intégration a été largement adopté par les militants, les bureaucrates et certains décideurs au Canada, et quelques provinces ont déplacé les fonctions d’administration et d’élaboration des politiques de services de garde vers le ministère de l’Éducation. Les réformes des services de garde à prix modique du Québec sont cependant construites dans un système de division traditionnelle des services. Les réformes des services aux 4 et 5 ans en Ontario sont très importantes, mais partielles. L’Île-du-Prince-Édouard a planifié un nouveau système d’éducation des jeunes enfants plus intégré, mais la transition n’a commencé que récemment. Cet article analyse le contexte, l’histoire et les facteurs politiques qui ont façonné les expériences d’intégration au Canada jusqu’à maintenant.

Resúmen

Starting Strong (2001) y Starting Strong II (2006), los reportes de la OECD sobre servicios de educación temprana en 20 países, hicieron énfasis en la necesidad de los gobiernos en tomar la iniciativa en integrar la educación temprana y los servicios de cuidado: cuidado de infantes y kindergarten en particular. La integración se ha convertido en parte de la agenda política que mezclaría lo mejor de ambos mundos. Aumentaría el monto y la calidad de los recursos que son dedicados a los servicios de “fuera de casa” para niños pequeños pre escolares, asegurando que estos servicios son universalmente accequibles como un derecho, y de un bajo costo para los padres, con empleo estable para aquel personal calificado para implementar un currículum flexible, bien diseñado y basado en el juego. En la mayoría de los países que poseen sistemas integrados esto ha ocurrido bajo la AEGIS de las autoridades de educación, haciendo más probable que los proveedores de estos servicios serán o públicos o agencias sin fines de lucro, dedicados a una mejora continua en pro de los intereses de los niños, sobre los intereses de la ganancia privada. Estos artículos comparan los desarrollos canadienses en integración con aquellos en Suecia, Nueva Zelanda, Inglaterra y Gales. El contexto y la historia hacen que aquellos temas de integración sean diferentes en alguna manera en Canadá, que en estos otros países. Sobre todo, la integración de la educación temprana y los servicios de cuidados en Canadá se encuentra menos desarrollados que en Europa, pero este artículo informa algunas prometedores reformas recientes. En particular, el lenguaje de integración ha sido adoptado ampliamente por clases altas, burócratas y algunos políticos en Canadá, y un importante número de provincias han movido la administración y las funciones de generación de políticas en función de los servicios de cuidados infantiles al ministerio de educación. Sin embargo, las reformas de cuidado infantil de bajo costo de Québec se basan en un sistema de división tradicional de los servicios. Las reformas de Ontario de los servicios de 4 - y 5 - años de edad son muy importantes, pero parciales. La isla del Príncipe Eduardo ha planteado un nuevo sistema de educación temprana más integrado en su totalidad, pero la transición ha comenzado sólo recientemente. Este trabajo analiza los factores de contexto, historia y política que han dado forma a las experiencias de integración en Canadá hasta ahora.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Toronto ScarboroughTorontoCanada
  2. 2.TorontoCanada

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