Quality First is a quality early learning initiative providing all licensed childcare programs in Halton region with the opportunity to participate in a developmental model for quality improvement. Quality First Believes in;
- Developing the professionalism of individuals involved in the care and education of young children
- Improving the level of quality indicators in children’s programs
- Collaborating with local colleges to promote the professionalism readiness of early childhood educators.
Who can participate in Quality First?
- Licensed centre-based Early Learning and Child Care
- Licensed School-Age Child Care programs
- Licensed Home Child Care Agencies
How does Quality First support licensed programs?
- On-site observations by a Quality First Conslutant
- Professional Development, workshops and activities
- Self-reflection activities
- Coaching and Consultation
- Support from Consultants to reach established goals
Is Quality First a guarantee of quality?
Participation in Quality First indicates the program’s commitment to work towards high quality environments and interactions for children in their programs, but is not a guarantee or endorsement of quality.
What do quality interactions look and sound like?
- Are engaged with the child in the child’s activities
- Speak warmly to the children
- Listen attentively when children speak
- Enjoy children’s spontaneity
- Encourage the children to try new experiences
- Show enthusiasm about the children’s activities and efforts
- Pay positive attention to the children as individuals
- Talk to children on a level they can understand
- Encourage children to exhibit pro-social behaviour (eg. sharing)
- Are kind, responsive, open and informed
What does a quality environment look like?
Common characteristics of a quality setting include:
- A variety of developmentally appropriate toys and equipment in an aesthetically pleasing environment
- Toys and equipment that are rotated and cleaned often
- Nutritious meals and snacks which are served in appropriate amounts
- A balance of interesting activities to meet the developmental needs of each child
- A daily routine, with some flexibility to meet children’s needs
- Suitable furniture that promotes self-help skills, and is conveniently organized and in good repair
- A room arrangement with smooth flowing traffic patterns and a variety of different activity areas
- Space for relaxation and comfort, which includes soft areas, comfortable furniture and a quiet place for children
- Active physical play space which allows opportunity for large muscle movement
- Inclusion for all children regardless of abilities
“As a parent of two School Age Children in after school care, it can be challenging to find programs that offer stimulating and fun activities to meet both of their interests. Since starting Quality First I have seen some positive changes to the program. The staff has created defined areas for the children to play and Science Activities have been incorporated. The children are working on projects such as watching plants grow and activities are being brought outdoors for those not so active children like my daughter! The programs are very fortunate to have such wonderful supports here in Halton.”
We hope that you will share this report with your colleagues, staff, Boards, funders and parents.