Access includes innovations that remove barriers to participation in early childhood programs.


Accountability innovations include assessment, monitoring and reporting tools measuring processes and/or outcomes.


Aboriginal Head Start

Aboriginal Head Start was introduced in 1995 as an early intervention program for Indigenous children from approximately age 2.5 to 6 years and their families.


Better Beginnings Better Futures

Better Beginnings Better Futures evaluates the long-term impacts of early childhood development programming designed to prevent young children in high risk neighbourhoods from experiencing poor outcomes. The BBBF model has been implemented in eight socio-economically disadvantaged communities in Ontario since 1991.


Includes studies evaluating the physical space of the early learning environment and educator to children ratios.

Classroom Size

Refers to the construction of knowledge, learning strategies and ways of thinking and reasoning that enable children to learn about themselves, others, and the world they live in.

Cognitive Development

Programs and practices designed to enhance connections and the involvement of community partners and agencies in early learning and child care.

Community Engagement

The ability to recognize developmental milestone and identify children at risk of developmental delays.

Early Identification

Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Educator


Early Childhood Education and Care


Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale

Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale is designed to assess group programs for preschool-aged children from 2 through 5 years of age.


Early Development Instrument

Early Development Instrument is a population measure assessing five areas of early childhood development:  physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge.


Encompasses the professional knowledge and skills of educators that informs their interactions with children and families and their abilities to design and execute effective programming.

Educator Practice

A child’s ability to identify and understand one’s own feelings, to accurately read and comprehend emotional states in others, to manage strong emotions and expression in a constructive manner, to regulate one’s own behaviour, to develop empathy for others, and to establish and maintain relationships.

Emotional Development

Early Learning and Child Care


Programs and practices targeted to at-risk families with young children.

Family Intervention

Programs to help parents enhance both their parenting and literacy skills while providing young children with early childhood education.

Family Literacy Program

Full Day Kindergarten

Full Day Kindergarten is generally a school-operated program for children in the year before Grade 1 operating on the same schedule as the elementary school.


First Nations, Inuit and Métis are names that refer to the three main groups of peoples who are the traditional inhabitants of this land.

First Nations/


Funding innovations include the transfer of public funds to promote ELCC program quality, access or educator recruitment and retention.


Governance examines innovations focused on service system design, policy and/or operations.


Transition to school program usually provided by schools for children in the year prior to Grade 1 for approximately 12-15 hours per week during the academic year.

Half-Day Kindergarten

Interventions aimed at improving the health and well being of pregnant women, infants, and young children.

Healthy Start

Programs and practices designed by and for Indigenous communities to enhance access and/or quality to early childhood programming.

Indigenous Innovation  

Refers to the acquisition and use of language and could refer to verbal skills, written skills, or communication skills, among many others.

Language Development

Innovations in the learning environment promote quality in the physical space, educator practice or programming.

Learning Environment

Designed to build key literacy skills in children: phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and understanding the concepts about print conventions.

Literacy Programs

A quantitative statistical analysis of several separate but similar experiments or studies in order to test the pooled data for statistical significance.

Meta-Analysis Studies

Sometimes called “family grouping” describes programming for children who are heterogeneous in age emulating the natural family environment which children share with siblings of various ages.

Multi-Age Group

Refers to the use of music via songs, instruments or movement in early childhood programming.


Refers to outdoor playscapes that may be natural or constructed. Both are intended to offer children stimulation which cannot be achieved indoors by exploring the natural environment and challenging muscle strength and coordination.

Outdoor Play

Parent involvement in and outside the early childhood program designed to establish the importance of education and provide families with social connections. Parent involvement in early education can also make the child’s transition to elementary school less stressful.

Parent Engagement

The gathering of evidence of what children say, do, and represent through listening and observation to make the child’s thinking and learning visible.

Pedagogical Documentation

Relates to children’s physical health and well-being and could include skills relating to gross and fine motor activity.

Physical Development

Refers to programs and practices to encourage physical activity and healthy eating in young children.

Physical Health/Eating 

Research that is primarily exploratory used to gain knowledge of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinion to develop a deeper understanding of the research problem. Common data collection methods include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews, and participation/observations. The sample size is typically small.

Qualitative Studies

Research used to quantify a research problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. Some methods of data collection include surveys, longitudinal research, or systematic observation. The sample size is typically large.  Quantitative research may be:

  • Observational: Any research wherein the independent variables are not controlled or manipulated by the researcher (participant observations, naturalistic observations, controlled observations).

  • Quasi-Experimental: Research design in which the independent variable manipulated, however the participants are not randomly assigned to conditions or orders of conditions.

Quantitative Studies

Evaluations of Quebec’s 1997 Child Care and Family Policy with an emphasis on the provision of low cost child care.

Quebec Child Care

Experimental studies where the researcher controls and manipulates independent variables/treatment and participants are randomly assigned to experimental or control groups.

Randomized Control Trial

Refers to thrilling and exciting activity that involves a risk of physical injury, and play that provides opportunities for challenge, testing limits, exploring boundaries and learning about injury risk.

Risky Play

Interventions for children with English or French as a second language.

Second Language

Refers to the process by which children learn to interact and communicate with other people and process their actions. Also how children develop friendships and other relationships, as well how they handle conflict with peers.

Social Development

Indicates children who are delayed in their physical, cognitive and/or social-emotional development.

Special Needs

Covers evaluations examining the use of various forms of technology – apps, computers, ipads, videos, etc – in early childhood settings.


Toronto First Duty

Toronto First Duty began in 2001 as a demonstration project testing the integration of child care, kindergarten and family support programs in a school-based setting.


Understanding the Early Years

Understanding the Early Years was a national initiative, funded by the Government of Canada, to assist selected communities to better understand the needs of young children through forums, surveys and pilot projects.