8 AECENS Code of Ethics

Guidelines for Responsible Behaviour in Child Care Practice

Association of Early Childhood Educators of Nova Scotia (AECENS)

A code of ethics is our group beliefs about… “what is right rather than expedient… what is good rather than practical… and what acts a member must never engage in or condone”[1]


To provide individualized and sensitive child care and accept professional responsibility for the children in ourcare

  • To help each individual child learn:
    • To trust themselves and others
    • To trust in their abilities, and in those of others
    • To have respect for themselves and for others
    • To be honest with themselves and with others
    • To have self confidence
  • To set up and maintain learning environments appropriate to the children’s interests, needs, and abilities.
  • To accept the right of children to ask questions about unknowns that exist and to also accept the responsibility to encourage and provide different views and opinions, free from bias.
  • To regard as our primary obligation the welfare of young children and the quality of services to them.
  • To protect and extend each child’s sensory, physical, emotional, intellectual and social well being
  • To familiarize oneself with laws and regulations regarding children, their care and child abuse, and to work to abide by them.
  • To refrain from physical punishment, verbal abuse (ex. sarcasm, ridicule) and psychological abuse (ex. Threats, encouraging fear) of children in interactions with them
  • To act responsibly when reporting abuse to the appropriate authorities
  • To act promptly and decisively in situations where the well being of children is compromised, ensuring that the best interests of children supercede all other considerations.


  • To maintain open communication with children’s families.
  • To respect different family values and beliefs
  • To recognize the importance of the family and the professional working together as a team, in the best interests of the child.
  • To recognize the practitioner’s role as one which is supportive of the family and the child.
  • To Cooperate with other persons, professionals, and organizations to promote programs that will enhance the quality of family life
  • To share with parents, our knowledge and understanding of their children’s learning and developmental progress
  • To provide quality child care services to all families using the program.
  • To recognize that a privileged relationship exists between oneself, the children placed in one’s care, and their parents.
  • To respect the rights of parents.
  • To respect the confidential nature of information obtained about children and their families and to treat it in a responsible manner.
  • To cooperate with professionals and organizations involved in a professional manner with the family.


  • To support a climate of trust and forthrightness in the work place that will ensure that colleagues are able to speak and act in the best interests of children without
    far of recrimination
  • To communicate with integrity, support on another and adopt professional attitudes and behaviours in their work with children.
  • To receive suggestions or criticisms that will improve job performance
  • To exercise care in expressing views on the disposition and professional conduct of colleagues.
  • To share our knowledge and to support the development of our colleagues
  • To increase one’s own professional competence and to be willing to review and assess one’s own practices.
  • To improve professionally by actively pursuing knowledge about developments in early childhood education
  • To respect confidentiality of views expressed in private by colleagues.
  • To exercise utmost discretion
  • To support a climate of trust and forthrightness in the work place that will ensure that colleagues are able to speak and act in the best interests of children without fear of recrimination.


  • To make information about services of the program openly and accurately available while maintaining essential safeguards for the privacy of individuals
  • To advocate on a personal, professional and organizational level for appropriate early childhood services, resources and recognition
  • To contribute to the extension of public information
  • To model performance and attitudes
  • To promote quality child care in our programs and practices
  • To participate with colleagues and others in action to effect change consistent with the values, goals and objectives of our profession.
  • To be knowledgeable about and practice licensing standards as outlined in the Nova Scotia Child Care Act and Regulations
  • To be prepared to accept and abide by this code of ethics.

How to use this Code of Ethics

Ask Yourself

Is this decision that has to be made related to building relationships, stimulation or protection?

Refer to

Depending on the answer, refer to the section of the code of ethics that relates to:

  • Building relationships With trusting, caring and cooperative relationships that respect the worth and uniqueness of the individual
  • Stimulation With stimulation that encourages growth in the whole person
  • Protection With healthy and safe environments

Ask Yourself

Who are the persons to consider in this decision?

Refer to

The statement under the related heading Children, parents, colleagues, community

Proceed with the Ethical DecisionMaking Process

Should a situation arise that would compromise our ethical code, we are committed to the following decisionmaking process:

  1. Identify the actual issue or practice that is causing a problem.
  2. Indicate which individuals and/or groups are to be considered in the solution of the dilemma. (Consider the code of ethics, legislation, personalities etc.)
  3. Explain what considerations each person/group is owed and why, particularly in terms of rights and considerations. Indicate the values that relate to the issue/practice and persons/group.
  4. Develop alternative courses of action. Choose reasonable alternatives that seem to meet the considerations in 13. Evaluate the consequences of taking each alternative short/long term effects, psychological, social and economical.
  5. Apply values and principles conscientiously.
  6. Choose a course of action and act with a commitment to that action. Assume responsibility for the course of action.
  7. After a period of time, evaluate the action and assume responsibility for the consequences of the action.


Association of Early Childhood Educators of Nova Scotia (ACENS). (n.d.). AECENS Code of Ethics guidelines for responsible behaviour in child care practice. https://aecens.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Code-of-ethics-AECENS.pdf

  1. Katz, L. (1978). Ethical issues in working with young children (p.3). In L. Katz and E. Ward. Ethical Behavior in Early Childhood Education. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children

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