Dr. Michal Perlman

Professor, University of Toronto and Director, Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Research Centre, University of Toronto

Curriculum vitae


Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)

University of Toronto

252 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 1V6

Early childhood education in Canada

Part of a book

Howe N., K. Flanagan, M. Perlman
International Handbook on Early Childhood Education and Care, M. Fleer & B. van Oers, vol. 1, Springer, Netherlands, 2017, pp. 721-743

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APA   Click to copy
Howe, N., Flanagan, K., & Perlman, M. (2017). Early childhood education in Canada. In M. F. & B. van Oers (Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 721–743). Netherlands: Springer.

Chicago/Turabian   Click to copy
Howe, N., K. Flanagan, and M. Perlman. “Early Childhood Education in Canada.” In , edited by M. Fleer & B. van Oers, 1:721–743. International Handbook on Early Childhood Education and Care. Netherlands: Springer, 2017.

MLA   Click to copy
Howe, N., et al. Early Childhood Education in Canada. Edited by M. Fleer & B. van Oers, vol. 1, Springer, 2017, pp. 721–43.

BibTeX   Click to copy

  title = {Early childhood education in Canada},
  year = {2017},
  address = {Netherlands},
  pages = {721-743},
  publisher = {Springer},
  series = {International Handbook on Early Childhood Education and Care},
  volume = {1},
  author = {Howe, N. and Flanagan, K. and Perlman, M.},
  editor = {van Oers, M. Fleer & B.}


This chapter provides an overview of the childhood education and care (ECEC) landscape in Canada. Canada is a federation of ten provinces and three territories; this constitutional framework gives the provinces and territories full jurisdiction for education and child care (e.g., Canada does not have a federal department of education or child care or a national policy). This model has shaped the development of ECEC policies and programs across the county and contributed to some of the challenges discussed in this chapter. We focus this review on center-based care and public kindergarten and discuss pertinent legislation, policy (including issues of availability, affordability, and children with special needs), and relevant descriptive information of regulation and services across the country. In addition, we provide a brief overview of provincial/territorial ECEC initiatives and include two examples of recent, large-scale policy directions regarding the introduction of full-day kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds (Ontario) and the universality of child care services (Quebec). We then present the limited data available about program quality across Canada with a discussion of new initiatives in this area. Emerging trends in ECEC regarding governance, curriculum, and human resources are identifed, which indicate the dynamic and continued efforts to improve the quality of services provided for children and families. Finally, the chapter concludes with an analysis of ongoing challenges.


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