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Learning from Cuba's model: recommendations on early childhood education and care programs in British Columbia

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Evidence from the field of neuroscience and developmental health indicates that early years of life play a crucial role in setting the stage for one’s lifelong learning, behaviour and health. However, Canada does not measure up with the international standards in terms of its investments in early childhood programs, specifically, early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. Improving the ECEC programs in BC is a key priority as a significant number of BC children are developmentally vulnerable before kindergarten. This paper examines the current government-implemented or regulated ECEC programs in BC, and compares them with the “Educate Your Child” program in Cuba, which has been proven to be successful. The essential elements in the Cuban model are used to identify and inform a series of recommendations for improving existing ECEC programs in BC. Limitations associated with the availability of data sources, program evaluations, and outcome measurements are discussed.
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