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Currently, the Centre has several ongoing research projects:

  • Evaluation of the Nova Scotia Pyramid Model
  • Evaluation of Early Years Centres and Pre-primary Program in Nova Scotia
  • Evaluation of the Before and After Pre-primary Program Pilot
  • Expanding Connections to Support Early Childhood Development in Nova Scotia
  • Knowledge Syntheses
  • Establishing a Current State Assessment of healthy eating practices across early learning environments 

In Fall 2018, Nova Scotia began to implement The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children. The Pyramid Model is an evidenced-based, positive behavioural intervention and support framework for early childhood educators and parents to promote social and emotional development and address challenging behaviours. 

The ECCRC is leading the evaluation of the Pyramid Model across the province. We are examining how the existing infrastructure and partnerships support implementation of the Pyramid Model and how the model influences the awareness, knowledge, and value of social emotional learning.


This five-year evaluation is being conducted on behalf of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development with funding provided by the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation. 

We are looking at the province’s Early Years Centres and Pre-primary Programs, with the goal of understanding how they can be integrated into the existing school system to best support children, families, and care providers. Gathering data for this project has involved a wide array of methods including interviews, focus groups, school visits, an online family survey, and the administration of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Third Edition (ECERS-3).

Copies of previous reports.

From January to June 2019, the Nova Scotia Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development and Communities, Culture, and Heritage piloted a demonstration project, providing onsite programming focused on movement, outdoor play, and physical literacy. 

We conducted a developmental evaluation to determine how the shared standards and pilot implementation influenced access to affordable, quality programming for children and their families, and how it influenced the awareness and skills of early childhood educators and recreation practitioners in movement, physical literacy and outdoor play. Results will be shared soon!

The ECCRC is hosting a series of curated, thematic seminars exploring different early childhood topics (including responsive feeding, social-emotional learning, supporting children with autism, play-based learning). The seminars occur simultaneously across three communities in Nova Scotia. Each session includes a presentation with topic-specific content, storytelling, and facilitated discussion with early childhood stakeholders, especially Early Childhood Educators. Check out a recording of our first seminar here.

We are conducting two scoping reviews to comprehensively explore and synthesize the related literature on two topics important to our work at ECCRC: immigrant families and responsive food environments. Specifically, we are seeking to answer two questions:

•What is known about immigrant families' experiences with programs and services to support early childhod development in Canada?

•What is known about the factors influencing the implementation and sustainability of responsive food environments in early learning settings?

Building upon the momentum of the revised Canada’s Food Guide and the increased policy attention on early childhood in Nova Scotia, the ECCRC seeks to build a research program to support healthy eating practices across early learning environments. Currently, we are using a Knowledge-to-Action model to build an understanding of current healthy eating and responsive feeding practices in early learning environments and to support partnership development among a collaborative team of academics, practitioners and policy makers.

This research, in partnership with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, explores how immigrant families understand and experience early childhood programs and services offered in their communities. Families will use photographs to illustrate their lived experiences accessing the supports they need.

Mobilizing Connections to build early childhood partnerships in Nova Scotia

Through the Connection Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac is leading an effort to respond to the needs of families by developing collaborations, sharing best practices and mobilizing research results.   

In Fall 2018, a group of multi-sector participants working in early childhood research, policy and practice in Nova Scotia came together to strengthen collaborations between researchers and policy/practice stakeholders to promote collective learning, strengthen future research partnerships, while also supporting program development and policy refinement. The event met two specific objectives: 

1.Support knowledge mobilization between academic and non-academic early childhood stakeholders in Nova Scotia and across Canada. 

2.Identify opportunities to enable future collaborations among researchers, policy makers and practitioners in Nova Scotia and across Canada. 

Existing early childhood collaborative partnerships within Nova Scotia were strengthened and new connections between stakeholders working in research, policy and practice were encouraged. The event also enhanced skill development for students in early childhood research and knowledge mobilization to support future research training and professional aspirations. Priority actions were discussed to identify opportunities for future collaborations between stakeholders. Stay tuned for future developments!

Addressing the achievement gap through pre-primary (2017-2018)

This research project is investigating how Nova Scotia’s Pre-primary Program is addressing the achievement gap through ensuring equal opportunities for early childhood education, taking into account societal and community barriers and diversity. This research is funded by the Inter University Research Network (Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development). 

In order for the Pre-primary Program to provide high-quality early childhood education, recruitment and retention of trained early childhood educators is required. Students enrolled in the Mount Saint Vincent University Child and Youth Study program and Nova Scotia’s Early Childhood Education training programs with a Mount Saint Vincent/Child and Youth articulation agreement (Nova Scotia Community College, Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, The Jane Norman College and Université Saint Anne) were recruited to complete a survey. 

The survey examined how the introduction of the Pre-primary program is influencing future Early Childhood Educators in terms of their perception of changes in workforce opportunities and their expectations about future employment. The results will provide information to help inform decision-making around the training, education, recruitment and employment in Early Childhood Education/Child and Youth related sectors. 

We are also conducting focus groups with families to find out more about their experiences of the program, factors that impact their decisions to have their children attend (or not attend) the program, and ways in which the Pre-primary Program can best address their needs