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Early Learning Framework

The Early Learning Framework is a guide to support early childhood programs in Ontario. With six distinct principles, the Early Learning Framework provides a shared language and understanding of child development. The goal is to support you, early childhood educators and other early learning practitioners, as you work in early childhood settings.

The Early Learning Framework is based on research and perspectives from diverse fields of knowledge. It recognizes the distinct values held by families, communities, and cultures. It complements most curriculum approaches. The framework is a dynamic document that will continue to evolve as it is used by those who work with and care for young children.

How Does Learning Happen?

Throughout Ontario, many programs have explored how to embed the principles of ELECT (Early Learning for Every Child Today) and an understanding of child development into their practice. How Does Learning Happen? builds on the important work that has been done so far. It incorporates what we have learned from ELECT and the ways it has been applied in programs and practices across the province. How Does Learning Happen? takes what we know about child development and adds new perspectives on the approaches that best support children’s learning, development, health, and well-being.

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years is a professional learning resource for those working in childcare and child and family programs. It supports pedagogy and program development in early years settings that is shaped by views about children, the role of educators and families, and the relationships among them. It builds on foundational knowledge about children and is grounded in new research and leading-edge practice from around the world.

How Does Learning Happen? inspires critical reflection and discussion among those who work with children and their families in early years settings. It includes goals for children, expectations for programs and questions for reflection that provide a starting point for thinking about the types of environments, experiences, and interactions that bring out the best in children, families, and educators. It will help to strengthen the quality of early years programs and services across Ontario as we explore together, how learning happens.

Four Foundations of How does Learning Happen?


refers to a sense of connectedness to others, being valued & forming relationships

Well Being

importance of physical & mental health & overall wellness


being involved & focused


to be heard and to listen which many forms

Children, Families & Educators all need these four foundations, independently & interconnected.


Think Feel Act

Lessons from Research about Young Children

The Ontario Early Years Policy Framework describes how children’s experiences in the early years can have an extraordinary and long-lasting impact on children’s learning, development, health & well-being. The Ministry of Education along with leading experts in the early childhood field developed the following resource to support Educators working early years setting in their professional learning. The topics have significant impact on experiences of children in early childhood.

The Power of Positive Adult Child Relationships Connection Is the Key

Learning Environment

Pedagogical Documentation


Pedagogical Leadership

Parent Engagement