Quality Matters (QM)

The ECE field in Nova Scotia is undergoing a major makeover. The new funding model is based on the quality of service provided by the licensed child care centres, and that includes the quality of learning environments.

The Department of Education outlined the guidelines that determine what quality means and what internal process will help administrators and educators improve quality.

Funding eligibility for licensed child care centres is linked to specific outcomes (including high quality and inclusive environments) determined under the new province-wide program called Quality Matters (QM).

(Source: Education and Early Childhood Development website).

QM evaluates a centre’s success in meeting specific goals with respect to the following components:

• Compliance with provisions of Nova Scotia’s Day Care Act, Day Care Regulations, policies, and standards.

• Accountability for provincial funding, including compliance with the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement. The child care centre must comply with the terms and conditions documents for all grants received. In addition, the child care centre must satisfy financial reporting and audit requirements of the EECD.

• Program Quality, which includes

– implementation of the Early Learning Curriculum Framework

– commitment to improving quality through a CQI process. This process requires the completion of a self-assessment tool, which will be used as a basis for developing goals for quality improvement in four key areas:

– Leadership: professional, pedagogical, and administrative

– Staffing: qualifications, professional development, human resources, and compensation

– Learning Environments: high quality and inclusive

“The intention is to provide high quality learning environments that embrace Nova Scotia’s Early Learning and Curriculum Framework and promote children’s growth, development, and well-being. Key elements of the learning environment include the physical environment, both indoors and outdoors; daily schedules and routines that provide predictability and flow for children and their families; and meaningful learning experiences for children.”

“Attention to nature, furnishings, materials, texture, and displays is essential in early learning programs because each influences children’s conversations, their level of interest in wanting to explore in new ways, and their desire to embrace their space. Open-ended materials encourage children’s active participation in their learning. Children use open-ended materials with no specific set of directions, whether materials are used on their own or combined with other materials, and they display more creativity and problem-solving abilities than when engaging with pre-determined materials (Daly & Beloglovsky, 2015; Nicholson, 1971). Educators can ensure that natural and synthetic loose parts and open-ended materials are widely available in sufficient quantities for children’s exploration and discoveries.”

– Relationships: interactions and partnerships with children, parents and families, staff, other professionals, and the community

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Source: Education and Childhood Development website