Improving the quality of childcare services



The research team Qualité éducative en services de garde et petite enfance (Educational Quality in Childcare and Early Childhood Centres), directed by Nathalie Bigras from Université du Québec à Montréal, is developing empirical and theoretical knowledge on early childhood education and, more specifically, on the quality of educational childcare services. 

The team's work included a study of 89 childcare services in the greater Montreal area; this study revealed that in terms of quality, the results for home childcare services are lower than in government-regulated and private childcare centres for most of the quality aspects evaluated by the Échelles d'observation de la qualité educative (Educational Quality Observation Scales). The researchers also established that the higher quality found in centres is associated with the specialized early childhood education training received by the staff, to a lower child-adult ratio and to the type of care provided. These results reaffirm the importance of supporting initiatives to improve the quality of educational childcare.

The researchers also identified certain variables likely to contribute to improving quality. One of these relates to the training of educators and home childcare providers working with children under the age of 18 months and with a child-adult ratio higher than five to one. It is of note that fewer of these educators have received specialized early childhood education training than their centre-based counterparts. 

These results were presented to the Quebec National Assembly in June 2009 during the Parliamentary Commission on Bill 51, concerning the representation of certain home childcare providers and the negotiation process for their collective agreement, and amending various legislative provisions.

Team

Équipe de recherche Qualité éducative en services de garde et petite enfance

Director

Nathalie Bigras, Université du Québec à Montréal

Regular members

  • Caroline Bouchard, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Liesette Brunson, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Gilles Cantin, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Annie Charron, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Sylvain Coutu, Université du Québec en Outaouais