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Elements of a high quality early learning and child care system

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Quality by Design Working Documents
Friendly, Martha & Beach, Jane
Publication Date: 
1 Oct 2005


A system made up of a series of linked elements is the best way to ensure that high quality early learning and child care (ELCC) programs are the norm rather than the exception, according to research and comparative analysis. These elements &em; ideas, governance, infrastructure, planning and policy development, financing, human resources, physical environment, data, research and evaluation &em; that make up the system need to be taken into account together. Considered individually, their potential to have a positive impact will be weaker.

Research shows that the common obstacles to high quality in ELCC programs are often structural weaknesses &em; lack of adequate financing, unfavourable staff:child ratios, poorly qualified and inadequately paid staff, and poorly developed and implemented educational theory. These characteristics are determined by public policy.

Thus, a high quality ELCC system is the basis for high quality in ELCC programs and strong public policy is the foundation for a high quality ELCC system. The elements of a high quality ELCC operate as a whole: there is no "magic bullet." For the system to function well to support high quality at the program level, attention must be paid to all elements.

Entered Date: 
3 Oct 2005
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