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Currently, the Centre has several ongoing research projects, which include:

  • Evaluation of the Nova Scotia Pyramid Model (2018-2020)
  • Mobilizing connections to build early childhood partnerships in Nova Scotia (March 2018 – March 2019)
  • Evaluation of Early Years Centres and Pre-primary Program in Nova Scotia (2014-2020)
  • Addressing the achievement gap through pre-primary (2017-2018)

Evaluation of the Nova Scotia Pyramid Model

In Fall 2018, Nova Scotia began to pilot The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children. The Pyramid Model is an evidence-based initiative to support early childhood educators in building confidence and capacity to support the social, emotional, and behavioural development of all young children. A foundational element of success for the Pyramid Model is data decision making.

This evaluation project will use data to examine the implementation of the Pyramid Model components to evaluate the system infrastructure.. The evaluation seeks to answer three key questions:

  • How does the existing infrastructure and partnerships support the implementation of the Pyramid Model (leadership team, support sites, master cadre, coaches, other partners)?
  • How has the Pyramid Model influenced the awareness, knowledge, and value of Master Cadre, Coaches in social emotional learning, PBIS and assessment tools?
  • How is the Pyramid Model implementation being supported by coaches and centres?

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!

Evaluation of Early Year Centres and Pre-primary Program in Nova Scotia

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 survery, and the administration of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Third Edition (ECERS-3). 

Copies of previous reports.

The Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) and Communities, Culture, and Heritage (CCH) are piloting a demonstration project from January to June 2019. The pilot will test the delivery of onsite before and after programming (BAP) for the provincial Pre-primary Program (PPP) that incorporates the newly developed set of delivery standards focused on movement, outdoor play, and physical literacy.

Our evaluation explores four questions: 

  • How have the shared standards been implemented in pilot sites?
  • How has the pilot influenced the awareness and skills of ECEs and recreation practitioners in movement, physical literacy and outdoor play?
  • How has the pilot influenced access to affordable, quality programming for children and their families?
  • How has pilot influenced movement, physical literacy and outdoor paly?

Addressing the achievement gap through Pre-primary

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.