What is Best Start

Best Start is a comprehensive, evidence-based early learning and care strategy designed to help give Ontario's children the best possible start in life and help them achieve success in school.

Best Start is a major redesign of services in terms of how children and families are supported from birth to Grade One.

Best Start is distinct from other initiatives in that it:

  • will help parents and families, regardless of individual economic or social circumstances
  • responds to the clear message from communities that Ontario needs more integrated accessible services for young children and families
  • strengthens, enhances, builds on and integrates existing programs and services, rather than creating new structures or organizations
  • Asks all existing organizations that provide services for children from the prenatal stage through to Grade One to share their expertise, and plan together
  • Is community driven. The types of services and service targets/outcomes are set by the provincial government, but the planning for how those services will be delivered and integrated will be done by the communities.

At the community level, key features of Best Start are:

  • Childcare expansion in and around Schools
  • The establishment of neighbourhood Early Learning and Care Hubs that provide a range of integrated services and supports for families with young children
  • Support flexible implementation strategies that make sense for communities
  • Create an integrated early learning and care program combining preschool, JK and SK with high quality childcare during non-school hours
  • Create more licensed childcare spaces and assist more families in need with childcare costs