How is the Pandemic Influencing the Lives of Maritime Families with Young Children? A COVID-19 Focused Research Project
Given the coronavirus’s novelty (COVID-19) global pandemic, the exact impact of COVID-19 and the associated closures and physical distancing advice on Maritime families was unknown. We introduced an online survey to understand how the global pandemic influences the lives of Maritime families with young children, including their routines and needed supports. This will lead to future research focused on learning how family life has adapted as a result of COVID-19.
View preliminary results in the form of infographics.
Responsive Feeding Environments in Early Learning Settings: A Scoping Review of the Factors Influencing Implementation and Sustainability
This was one of two scoping reviews we conducted to comprehensively explore and synthesize the related literature on a topic important to our work at ECCRC: Responsive food environments. Specifically, we sought to answer the question: What is known about the factors influencing the implementation and sustainability of responsive food environments in early learning settings?
Expanding Connections to Support Early Childhood Development in Nova Scotia (SSHRC Exchange)
The ECCRC hosted a series of online seminars that strengthen relationships and promote collective learning amongst early childhood professionals and families while also supporting program development and policy refinement. The objectives of the online seminar series include 1) To build on existing knowledge and identifying new understandings in early childhood, and 2) To facilitate collaboration and relationship-building among policy-makers, practitioners, service providers, families, and researchers. The project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
First in the series: Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Communication Between Early Childhood Educators and Families to Support Children’s Social and Emotional Development, (February 2021).
Second in the series: How Are Maritime Families Experiencing the Pandemic? Building a Connection Between Early Childhood Educators and Families During COVID-19, (March 2021).
Third in the series: Responsive Feeding Practices in Early Learning Programs: Strategies for Enhancing Healthy Eating Among Young Children, (April 2021).
EDI Mapping Project
The EDI mapping project aims to identify geographic patterns of childhood vulnerability across Nova Scotia’s sub-areas and how they have changed in recent years. We looked at low school readiness (vulnerability) patterns using provincial Early Development Instrument assessments by a custom geographical area unit called Community Clusters. We want to add clarity to our understanding that, in addition to individual and family circumstances, structural determinants of health in the community context are also an important factor that influences early childhood vulnerability.
Growing a Family in New Land: A Scoping Review of the Factors Shaping Newcomer Families’ Experiences with Early Childhood Supports
This is one of two scoping reviews we conducted to comprehensively explore and synthesize the related literature on a topic important to our work at ECCRC: Immigrant families. Specifically, we seek to answer the question: What is known about immigrant families’ experiences with programs and services to support early childhood development in Canada?
Establishing a Current State of Healthy Eating Practices Across Early Learning Environments
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. We are currently using a Knowledge-to-Action model to build an understanding of current healthy eating and responsive feeding practices in early learning environments and support partnership development among a collaborative team of academics, practitioners, and policymakers.
Facilitating Quality Early Learning Environments: Evaluation of Professional Development for Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework
In the summer of 2018, Nova Scotia launched its early learning and curriculum framework (ELCF) entitled Capable, Confident, & Curious: Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework. It was the ninth province in Canada to do so over the last twelve years. The ELCF is an evidence-based support framework for early childhood educators and parents to promote and facilitate social and emotional development within classrooms and curriculum.
The Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre (ECCRC) is leading the evaluation of the ELCF training initiative on behalf of the Dept. of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD). The purpose of this evaluation is to provide information on the implementation and short-term outcomes of the implementation of the Professional Development (PD) to support Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework in early learning environments. An interim report will be released in the spring of 2020.
Quality Matters in Nova Scotia: Evaluating the Process of the Early Child Care Quality Assessment Program
As part of the 2016 report, Affordable Quality Childcare: A Great Place to Grow, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) launched the province-wide assessment program Quality Matters. To understand how regulated child care centres across Nova Scotia engaged this new implementation, ECCRC is evaluating the QM process in partnership with the DEECD. With funding provided by the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation, ECCRC examines the experiences of centres to understand how Quality Matters has influenced the understanding and integration of continuous quality improvement across the province.
Addressing the Achievement Gap Through Pre-primary (2017-2018)
This research project investigates how Nova Scotia’s Pre-primary Program addresses the achievement gap by 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).
For the Pre-primary Program to provide high-quality early childhood education, recruitment and retention of trained early childhood educators are 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 pre-primary program’s introduction 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.
Expanding Connections to Support Early Childhood Development in Nova Scotia
The ECCRC hosts 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.
Increasing Access to an Affordable Program Focused on Movement and Outdoor Play: Evaluation of the Before and After Pre-primary Program Pilot
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 early childhood educators and recreation practitioners’ awareness and skills in movement, physical literacy, and outdoor play. Results will be shared soon!
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 families’ needs 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 and strengthen future research partnerships 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, policymakers 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 students’ skill development 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!
Supporting Young Children and Their Families Through Seamless Access to Play-based Learning Programs: Evaluating Nova Scotia’s Early Years Centres and Pre-primary Program
This five-year evaluation was conducted on behalf of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development with the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation’s funding.
We looked at the province’s Early Years Centres and Pre-primary Programs to understand how they can be integrated into the existing school system to best support children, families, and care providers. Gathering data for this project 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).