nddsicon_hand“All children will have the opportunity to reach their developmental potential.”


What is Best Start? What are Best Start Hubs?

Best Start is about school boards, public health units, childcare and children's service professionals working together to make sure that more children and parents can access a seamless network of early learning and development services and supports right in their own communities. Best Start will create an appropriate environment so that all children can develop to their fullest potential.

Best Start is an initiative of the Ontario provincial government BUT is directed at the local area by the Best Start Network, which is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, all local school boards and family support, health and specialized children's services sectors. Parent representation and input is also key to the Best Start networks success.

It consists of a range of services to support families with children from birth through to Grade One:

  • Healthy Babies Healthy Children
  • Infant Hearing Program
  • Speech and language help for children who need extra help
  • More opportunities for high quality, affordable early learning and childcare
  • Services for children who are blind or have low vision

Best Start Hubs are a one stop centre for families, often in a school setting, bringing together kindergarten, childcare, parent-child programs, parenting supports and access to a wide range of specialized services. The goal here is to help children succeed by establishing the important partnership among childcare, family support and schools. Children who are used to attending programs in a school will have an easier time when starting JK. Parents who have been involved in Hub services/programs in a school will be more comfortable staying involved with the school and their child's learning as their child moves from early learning programs to school. A winning situation for all involved.

How do they use the ndds and what do they think about it?

The Best Start Hubs use the ndds whenever a parent or caregiver has questions or concerns about the development of their child. They find it a great tool to use to gently ask questions as to what their concerns are and to guide them to an understanding of where their child is at the present time and what to look for in the next few months or year. They also like that the ndds is easy to use and not intimidating to parents. The simple YES/NO format is easy to answer and to understand. The attached activity sheet is a great handout to give to parents to take home and can be used as a stepping off point in talking to parents about playing with their child. Some of the suggested activities are often incorporated into their programs at the Hubs.

The early childhood professionals at the Best Start Hubs use the ndds regularly in their work with parents and children at their centres. They find it a great tool for talking to parents about their child's development. They find if there are problems the checklist can usually pick them up which leads to early intervention and successful outcomes. With their community partners easily accessible within the structure of the Best Start Hub the necessary help and support for these parents and children is often only a step or two away. BUT early identification is the key and that is why they use the ndds.

Would they recommend the NDDS to other Programs?

Yes, the ndds is a great tool to help parents and their children while attending programs at our Best Start Hubs. We would recommend that every agency dealing with young children should have access to the NDDS.


t: (705) 472-9211 or 1-888-582-0944
f: (705) 472-9588