Capable, Confident and Curious – Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework


An early learning framework is important and exciting for many reasons. Frameworks, rather than being ‘prescriptive,’ (that is, telling us what to do and how to do it) are used as guidelines. These guidelines remind us of our knowledge base, and how to translate our knowledge into what is globally recognized as wise and innovative practices.


‘Early learning and child care curriculum frameworks embrace children’s everyday experiences as the foundation for curriculum….in early childhood, curriculum is integrated, emerging from children’s fascination with the world and what is meaningful for them.’ (adapted from Play, Participation and Possibilities: An Early Learning and Childcare Curriculum Framework for Alberta, 2014).

A framework provides consistency. When we have a shared vocabulary and vision for children, we can work together, sharing ideas and approaches, knowing that across the province – while not providing the same programmes – we are sharing the same positive goals for children. We can become, through this shared framework, a province-wide ‘community of practice’ where educators, leaders and families understand how young children learn, and how to provide exciting and innovative ways for children to engage with their world.

The Pilot Phase

Educators from around the province have contributed to this framework, through a pilot project that involved 42 centres and represented the wide range of early childhood settings and services that exist in Nova Scotia. These centres generously offered to engage with the draft framework, through workshops, meetings, and conversations, over a period of six months. They then provided valuable feedback through an evaluation process, which was used to modify the current edition of the framework and to guide next steps.

The Plan to Move Forward:

Using the feedback from the pilot project, as well as research from across the country, recommendations were developed that encompassed:

  • The need for local, community-based workshops and training, with plenty of time to reflect upon and try practices from within the modules.
  • Develop leadership skills for those who will be leading educators.
  • Add new topics, including learning around parent/community engagement, to the series of subject areas for in-service training.
  • Continued onsite and online support as we move forward with learning about the framework.

A series of professional development modules are being developed and will be delivered in each region of the province over a two-year period. Modules will encompass all aspects of the framework, including leadership and family/community engagement, as well as some extra topics that are foundational in our work with children.

Our framework informs educators’ expectations of children and engages educators in critical thought and reflective practice (Flanagan 2017). We have a huge opportunity here; to take a thoughtful look at our own practices, collaborate with other educators, invite family input, and see our existing settings through a fresh lens. The framework will invite continuing dialogue, which in turn will guide us as we extend and enrich children’s development, learning, and care. Welcome to this exciting and ongoing journey!


Learning about the Framework

As we move into learning about and using the new Capable, Confident and Curious, it is important to have a strong foundation from which to move forward with the types of practices described within the document. The framework is based on reflective practice and the examination of our beliefs, values and philosophies, as well as how these affect the delivery of care and learning for Nova Scotian children.

Over the next couple of years, the Early Childhood Development Support Sites will be offering professional development opportunities to support the implementation of the curriculum framework.


Modules are being developed that will encompass all aspects of the framework, including leadership and family/community engagement, as well as some extra topics that are foundational in our work with children. These modules are available to leaders and educators in order to support the use of the framework in their daily practice, and will be delivered by facilitators who are local to your area.

Sessions and support materials will be available in both French and English.

As an example of how

we will begin, here are the intended topics for the first session (i.e. two modules), beginning this fall:

  • Regional 2-day deliveries of Session 1 for directors or pedagogical leaders includes the first two modules: Image of the Child and Pedagogical Leadership.
  • Regional 1-day deliveries of Session 1 for educators whose directors or pedagogical leaders have engaged in the training.

Throughout the following year, and into the Spring of 2020, we will continue to explore and reflect upon all aspects of the framework.


Professional Development


Two educators from each centre are invited to sign up for the 2-day session. These modules are designed for directors and pedagogical leaders who will bring information back and lead implementation of the Framework in the centre.


‘Pedagogical Leaders demonstrate credible knowledge of the teaching and learning process and draw on those principles to guide individuals and groups.’ (Coughlin and Woodburn, 2016)

This module, designed for any type of leader in our field who is working in a regulated child care setting or Pre-primary Program, will focus on how pedagogical leadership supports educators in reflecting upon, and learning more about, their practices with children.

We will address - through experiences and dialogue – the questions: What is an effective pedagogical leader? How do we work through growth and change in positive ways? How do we encourage innovative practices?

Participants will:

  • develop an understanding of the role of a pedagogical leader, how this role can be improved through reflection, and how this type of leadership can support the vision and goals of their setting.
  • explore ideas around leading others through change and growth, while making connections to the framework, as they practice motivating, coaching, and mentoring skills.
  • reflect upon what it means to be a leader in terms of curriculum decisions; how we develop programs that are play-based, intentional, and connected to the practices described in the framework.

A person’s Image of the Child….is influenced by that person’s experiences, culture, values and beliefs’ (N.S Early Learning Curriculum Framework, p11).

This statement about the Image of the Child from the curriculum framework is foundational for the practices described within the document. In this module, we will use reflection and dialogue to work through our own images of children and how these are made visible in our day to day interactions, routines, decision-making, and responses to children.

We will address – through experiences and dialogue -  the questions: What is your ‘Image of the Child’? Why does this image matter? How do our images and practices align with the Framework? What difference does it make to our daily practice? How does the Image of the Child affect the role of an educator or leader?

Participants will:

  • articulate their Image of the Child, taking into account their own centre’s philosophies and values.
  • understand how their own childhood experiences, family background, spiritual and cultural values, as well as experiences as an adult and educator, influence their images of children.
  • improve awareness of what they see and understand in their approaches with children, and recognize how their images of children shape their ECE practices.

Professional Development - 2-day Sessions

Two educators from each centre are invited to sign up for the 2-day session. These modules are designed for directors and pedagogical leaders who will bring information back and lead implementation of the Framework in the centre.

New dates and locations will be posted in the New Year!!













It is an exciting time in the N.S. early childhood field! Our new curriculum framework is here, ready to be used in ECE settings around the province. Are you familiar with it, and the many ways in which it might be used? This module - Using Your Image of the Child in Your Daily Practice - will uncover the possibilities for using the first part of the Framework, and the "whys" of being able to use your Image of the Child in practical ways. Join us for this interactive session that will be the foundation for the rest of the Framework.

Professional Development - 1-day Sessions

Educators whose director or pedagogical leader has participated in the 2-day training are invited to sign up for the 1-day training sessions.

NOVEMBER 3, 2018

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Quality Inn- Halifax Airport

60 Sky Blvd Goffs

(Jane Norman College)

NOVEMBER 17, 2018

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

NSCC- Ivany Campus

80 Mawio'mi Place Dartmouth


NOVEMBER 17, 2018

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

NSCC- Strait Area Campus

226 Reeves St, Port Hawkesbury

(NSCECE Marconi)

NOVEMBER 24, 2018

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

NSCC- Pictou Campus

39 Acadia Ave. Stellarton

(NSCC Cumberland)

NOVEMBER 24, 2018

8:30 am to 4:30 pm

NSCC Marconi Campus

1240 Grand Lake Road


(NSCC Marconi)

DECEMBER 1, 2018

NSCC Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street


(NSCC Kingstec)

DECEMBER 1, 2018

NSCC Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street


(NSCC Burridge)

DECEMBER 1, 2018

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway


(Mount Saint Vincent University)

Upcoming Professional Development

Further professional learning modules will be offered; see the schedule below for more opportunities for learning and development around the framework

View Sessions...

Session 2: March 2019 and throughout Spring, (locations and facilitators TBA)

Module 3: Exploring Early Years practices, including the role of families, community and culture.
Module 4: The Learning Environment and how it supports children’s thinking, ideas and engagement.


Session 3: September 2019 and throughout the fall (locations and facilitators to be announced)

Module 5: Reflective Practice; what it means and how it applies to our daily practices with children.
Module 6: Observation for Decision-Making Purposes


Session 4: March 2020 and throughout Spring (facilitators and locations TBA)

Module 7: Pedagogical Documentation; What, How, Why?
Module 8: Educators, Leaders, Families, Community and Culture; the learning community as a whole.

Children and teachers at a daycare centre in Bridgewater. The centre focuses on outside play and use of natural materials to promote learning.Photo: Megan Hirons Mahon

Children in the pre primary program at West Northfield and New Germany pre primary program. Communications Nova Scotia/Len Wagg