Government of New Brunswick
What is this new curriculum all about?

The Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum is a learning and development tool for parents and caregivers of all children aged 0 to 5. It promotes an experiential-based approach to learning and was developed by New Brunswick child care experts to assist parents and caregivers in helping children grow to their greatest potential. It recognizes the individual learning abilities and unique cultural and linguistic identities of all children. It encourages children to be active participants in their own learning and allows them to follow their interests. It works with their strengths and aims to develop dignity, a sense of selfworth, and a zest for living and learning. 


What is innovative about the curriculum?

The curriculum is built on values and broadly defined goals that encourage all those involved in a child’s development to embrace the distinctiveness of their needs, communities and cultures and how they affect the stage in their lives defined as “childhood.”

The early years of development are critical to development. The curriculum steps away from traditional methods and looks towards an experience-based approach, emphasizing the importance of 3 essential components for learning: stimulating environments, safe and encouraging relationships and the ability to grow and learn through play. These basic fundamentals are vital to development and contribute greatly to the quality and level of learning that children experience. The integration of environment, relationships, and play provides children with the opportunity for hands-on learning and a way to develop healthy physical and emotional well-being, a positive sense of self, and the confidence they need to perform at their best.


What about school readiness, will children be ready for kindergarten?

The Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum compliments the current primary school curriculums and provides the basis for a smooth transition. Developed with the input of the Department of Education, the curriculum is designed to expose children to a variety of environments and opportunities for learning and relationship-building once they enter school. 


How does the curriculum work? How will I know that my child is learning?

The curriculum provides parents and caregivers with the information they need to provide the 3 key elements to healthy development: rich environments, caring relationships, and play. Executed properly, these factors help to enhance a child’s identity, well-being and sense of belonging. The curriculum also notes ways in which documentation can help to observe a child’s progress, making learning visible. The following are examples of activities where learning is displayed:

  • Developing a sense of self – seen when a children recognize themselves in photos, mirrors, documentation, and descriptions of themselves
  • Learning to take responsibility – when children actively participate in making decisions about eating, resting, and hygiene (cleanliness and toileting)
  • Learning about nutrition – when children are involved in food preparation and serving
  • Exploring and understanding their bodies and movements – when children participate in daily, physical activities, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Learning about the characteristics of objects – when children create patterns and identify relationships between materials (this can be seen when they engage in sorting, matching, sizing, ordering, sequencing, and grouping of objects).
  • Learning to think creatively – when a child raises questions and is able to independently draw conclusions about how or why things happen.
  • Learning to problem solve – when they use a variety of approaches to reach their goals and make the results visible.
  • Forming healthy relationships – when a child recognizes and responds to the presence of others
  • Learning to communicate – when a child uses language to make friends, share with others, creates imaginary words, attempts to negotiate, argue, or clarify, or when they express their thoughts, feelings or ideas. 


What is important about Play?

Although it may seem like a simple source of amusement, play is vital to childhood development. The curriculum communicates the necessity of play and the importance of play in the lives of children. Play is the essence of childhood, and therefore children are entitled to playtime. The curriculum identifies ways in which parents and child care workers can maximize play potential and hands-on learning through playful exploration, dizzy play, problem solving, and creativity. Play presents children with opportunities for self-discovery, problem solving, and exploration – ultimately contributing to their quality of life. By making sense of the world around them on their own terms and in a way that is fun for them, children are more likely to be captivated and involved in the learning process. Through play, relationships with others are developed and an understanding of their limits, interests and strengths are revealed. 


What is the importance of building relationships?

The Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum compliments the current primary  Relationships contribute to a child’s long-term development and improve their learning potential. Relationships that are consistent, caring, trusting, and supportive provide children with a better quality of learning and enhance their emotional well-being. Relationships help children to communicate with others in an open and thoughtful manner. 


What is the importance of environment for discovery?

The environment surrounding a child serves as a third teacher. In order for a child to function at the best possible level, they need to feel comfortable and accepted wherever they are. When diversity, fairness and involvement are encouraged in a learning environment, children are more likely to participate and respect themselves and others.


What is required in planning and prepare for his/her learning?

Planning is approached with flexibility – taking into account change, unexpected events, and the evolving interests of children. Planning flows from the observation of the children involved in the activities, while appealing to their strengths, interests and capabilities. Children are included in the planning process, as their input is key to successful planning and learning. Also, regular changes in environment also help to create new learning experiences and are part of the overall planning process. 


Who oversees the development and implementation of the Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum?

New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the curriculum in child care facilities. 


Will childcare workers be trained in the use of the curriculum?

Yes - All childcare workers working directly with children under the age of 5 are required to attend formal curriculum training. They will receive this training through a recognized training institute or through one of the two partnering universities – Université de Moncton or the University of New Brunswick.  


Does the curriculum recognize special needs children?

The curriculum was designed with diversity in mind and meets the needs of all children, including those with special needs. Children learn in various ways and at different rates. An array of techniques are featured in this curriculum to tackle the broad range in strengths, cultures, communities, languages and personal needs that are unique to each child.


Have the needs of the “ayant droit” been considered in the development of the Francophone Curriculum?

Having recognized the importance of French culture in a bilingual province, a curriculum éducatif has been designed for francophones by francophones which stresses the importance of cultural belonging and integration. In addition, special consideration has been given to “francisation” to strengthen the necessary language skills in children of “les ayant droit” who are being prepared for future enrollment in French speaking schools. 


What is the importance of documentation?

Documentation provides evidence of a child’s progress. This can be implemented and displayed for parents, childcare workers, and children to see in a number of ways:

  • Whiteboards and bulletin boards
  • Pictures, drawings, or artwork
  • Quoting and creative play
  • Portfolios or journals
  • Learning stories (individual accomplishments or group contributions)

By observing and recording their interests, personal needs and strengths, parents and childcare workers are better able to guide children on their path to future learning and growth. By responding to theses cues, new and fascinating activities can be developed to help children stay engaged and interested in learning and may attribute to their sense of success. Also, by reviewing documentation, changes in behavior or new needs can be identified and areas of concerns can be promptly addressed to resolve any potential issues. It also provides an opportunity for children to be proud of their work.


When I visit an early learning and child care facility which uses the curriculum, the room sometimes appears disorganized and I have been told this is part of the new curriculum. Why?

 Part of providing children with the proper environment is maintaining the consistency of the learning space. What may appear chaotic to an onlooker is really learning in progress – an activity that a child was previously involved in, has stepped away from with plans to return to it at a later time. Materials can range from art supplies and music to blocks or books. Materials may be similar throughout several activities and thus by leaving them assembled, provides the child with the opportunity to spread out their thoughts and creations over a period of time.


How do I choose a quality child care provider?

 Deciding what type of child care is best for you and your child is one of the most important decisions you will make. To help you, please see our Parent’s Guide to Quality Child Care


How do I communicate with my child’s child care provider when I have concerns?

Having an open relationship with your child care provider is very important.  Please see our Parent’s Guide to Quality Child Care for more information.