The vision of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is:
A community that fosters quality care and learning in safe and inclusive environments enabling individuals to reach their full potential.
The Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development is responsible for early childhood development, the K-12 school system, and public libraries with the objective of building an educational community in Newfoundland and Labrador that fosters safe, caring and inclusive learning environments for all children and youth in early childhood settings, regulated child care and family resource centres, and pre-school to grade 12.
The mandate for the department is primarily established under the:
The Departmental Notice under the Executive Council Act;
Child Care Act;
Public Libraries Act;
Schools Act, 1997;
Teacher Training Act; and
Teachers Association Act.
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Lines of Business
The lines of business, which are based on the mandate of the department, identify the programs, services and/or products that represent what the department delivers to its primary clients. Lines of business do not necessarily describe everything an entity does. Currently, there are nine lines of business for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development:
Educational Policy and Direction
The department sets the strategy and vision for the K-12 education system and provincial early learning and child care. Decision-making is informed through reviewing and amending legislation and regulations; conducting relevant research, consultations and analysis; and providing statistical indicators and background information. The department is responsible for the certification of teachers and the administration of various articles of the teachers’ collective agreement. The department also approves the certification of early childhood educators (ECEs), which is carried out by the Association of Early Childhood Educators Newfoundland and Labrador (AECENL).
Curriculum and Programs
In the K-12 system, responsibilities include: developing and monitoring the French and English curricula and programs; creating or selecting learning resources; distributing resources and equipment to schools; developing programs for improved teaching and learning; developing and supporting inclusive education initiatives; supporting safe, caring and inclusive environments; providing teacher professional learning opportunities; and collaborating with Indigenous groups.
Support for Children and Youth with Diverse Needs and Exceptionalities
The department provides a broad range of support services to enhance inclusive practices in child care and learning environments for children and youth with diverse needs and exceptionalities. In regulated child care settings, the Inclusion Support Program is a voluntary program that provides support to child care providers (centre-based or family child care) to support children with diverse needs (up to 13 years) to participate meaningfully in those programs. In the K-12 system, support for students with exceptionalities is provided within the inclusive education framework. The service delivery model is supported by policies and guidelines and professional learning and is enhanced through collaboration with community partners
Early Childhood Learning
The department fosters early childhood learning opportunities through cooperation with other departments and agencies. Responsibilities include: developing and implementing early childhood learning resources; developing and monitoring the KinderStart/Bon Départ program; developing the provincial early childhood learning framework; the provincial early childhood learning strategy, Learning from the Start; early literacy partnerships with public libraries; Parent Resource Kit partnership with regional health authorities; and the Power of Play promotional campaign.
Child Care Services and Family Resource Centres
Responsibilities include: monitoring and licensing of regulated child care services (centre-based or family child care home) throughout the province; conducting investigations of complaints for regulated and unregulated child care; providing financial support to regulated child care services on behalf of eligible families; providing financial support for the development and operation of child care centres and family child care homes; providing financial assistance to help recruit and retain ECEs; supporting the operation and development of family resource centres across the province; and supporting children’s transition from child care to the K-12 system.
Student Assessment and Research
The department collects data and manages databases for core areas such as child care services, enrolment, student support services, student achievement and graduate outcomes. Responsibilities include: the evaluation, monitoring, test development and certification processes for the K-12 system; administration of the General Educational Development (GED) test; and all major functions related to education system performance, such as education statistics, planning, accountability, policy development and research.
Support to Entities
The department provides support in many areas to the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, the Conseil scolaire francophone provincial, and the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board. Some areas of support include school transportation; teacher allocation; teachers’ payroll; operating grants for both school districts and libraries; and support for compliance with government legislation and policy.
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The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s primary clients are educators, children, youth and their families.
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Early Childhood Programs and Services, Department of Education, Newfoundland and Labrador