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


Modules: Pedagogical Development & The Image of the Child



Modules: Exploring Practices & Learning Environments



Modules: Observation for Decision-Making Purposes &
Reflective Practice and How it Applies to Daily Practices with Children



Modules: Pedagogical Documentation; the What, Why, and How &
Relationships with Families and Community


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