Canada’s Children Need a Professional Early Childhood Education Workforce
Canada's child care workforce needs a bill of rights embedded in pending federal legislation, says a new report released by the researchers at the University of Toronto.
"In the race to lower parent fees and increase access, governments across Canada often overlook the people who provide the care. Yet the success of Canada's emerging early learning and child care system will depend on its workforce," says Dr. Emis Akbari, an author on the report.
"The status of the early childhood education workforce, and the quality of programming where small children spend their days are interdependent," reads the report. "Just as children's environments can support or impede their learning, educators' work environments can promote or hinder educator practices."
For a sector hit hard by COVID, losing up to 21 percent of its staff, backfilling vacant positions takes precedence alongside finding an additional 32,000 educators, plus the support staff needed to meet expansion goals. Yet efforts to attract and retain educators are proving ineffective.
Across the care economy there is a reluctance to recognize that creating and maintaining a professional workforce requires a package of interventions to create inviting working conditions. These include wages and benefits reflecting the value of the work, resources and access to experts to do the job well, and opportunities for ongoing professional learning.
"Few jurisdictions have adopted this comprehensive approach," says Dr. Emis Akbari, one of the report's authors. "Failure to do so will compromise the success of the emerging early learning and child care program."
What is Early Childhood Education?
PowerPoint Version (PDF)
Word Document Version (PDF)
Is Full-Day Kindergarten a Success?
We be looked back at more than a decade of full-day kindergarten in Ontario. How well has it worked? Were the original concerns about it warranted? And has it accomplished its goals. With guests Jane Bertrand of OISE at the University of Toronto; the Toronto Star's Kristin Rushowy, and the University of Toronto's Elizabeth Dhuey.
The Case for Early Learning and Child Care in Canada: A short-and long-term economic policy winner
Early learning and child care supports parental labour force participation. It is the social infrastructure we need to accelerate the economic recovery, build increased economic resiliency and ensure Canada is optimising its labour force at a time of aging demographics. Public investment in early learning and child care delivers material and sustained economic and social benefits that will increase Canadian prosperity and improve competitiveness. The benefits outweigh the costs -the estimated return on every dollar of government investment is between $1.5 to $6.
Early Years Study Podcast
The evidence is crystal clear. When we invest in our children, we all benefit. When Canadian children thrive, Canada thrives. Since 1999, the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain and the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation have been gathering the research and developing a bold vision for supporting our youngest citizens and their families. In this series of conversations, we speak with the researchers, educators and economists who have contributed their unique and important perspectives to Early Years Study 4. Each conversation is interesting and compelling on its own but, when combined, the call to action is loud and clear: high quality, early childhood education for ALL."
Access the entire series.
Early Learning Nation Video
Atkinson Centre Videos
The Atkinson Centre’s YouTube channel includes several videos that focus on early childhood education.
Summer Institute 2017 keynote speaker, Craig Alexander, then Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.
Science of Early Child Development (SECD) Videos
A short video that describes what SECD is and how it is used. Margaret McCain and Marcel Lauziere (Lawson Foundation) explain why they are proud champions of SECD.
A short documentary (9 ½ minutes) that explains why early experiences reach forward and influence lifelong learning, behaviour, and health. It includes interviews with Dr. Fraser Mustard and international scientific researchers.
A 24-minute documentary that describes early childhood and family programs in Cuba. These programs contribute to Cuba’s high literacy and well-being outcomes, in spite of widespread poverty.
Encyclopedia for Early Childhood Development Video
A series of short videos that feature specific aspects of children’s behaviour.
An interview with Jane Bertrand about friendships in early childhood education settings. Jane discusses how to set up environments that encourage children’s play and learning with each other.
The Offord Centre
The Prosperity Project™ is a new not-for-profit organization founded to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian women who are being disproportionately affected. The Project is pan-Canadian in scope and fills an important need to explicitly link women and prosperity, underscoring the economic importance of gender equality during the COVID-19 pre-recovery, recovery and post-recovery periods. We apply an intersectional identities and inclusivity lens to serve women who also identify as Indigenous, women of colour, refugees, persons with disabilities and/or LGBTQ2+. We recognize that different approaches are required to meet the distinct needs of all Canadian women including First Nations, Inuit and Métis women. The Project acknowledges the unique needs of women of colour and will enlist this broad spectrum. We are currently identifying partner organizations in order to deliver our programs. The Project was conceived by a diverse group of more than 60 female leaders from across Canada who will be actively supporting The Prosperity Project in important ways. The organization was founded and is being led by Women’s Executive Network and Canadian Board Diversity Council Founder, Pamela Jeffery.
Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development
Université Laval and Université de Montréal
The Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development is a project from the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Over the years, this organization has built a solid network of international experts who, in their respective domain of expertise, gather, synthesize, and comment on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge available on the development of young children, from conception to age five.
The online Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development was inspired and informed by the first Early Years Study in 1999. It is a broad knowledge repository that is continually updated by new evidence and policies to inform families, educators, and policy makers.
Science of Early Child Development (SECD)
Red River College
The Science of Early Child Development (SECD) is an e-learning initiative designed to narrow the gap between research and practice. It is intended for anyone interested in learning more about the impact of early experience on lifelong health and well-being. SECD offers a suite of online and offline media-rich educational resources with examples of research and programs from around the world. SECD was developed at Red River College in partnership with the University of Toronto and the Aga Khan Development Network.
SECD was initiated in 2000 to bring the framework of understanding in the first Early Years Study to broader audiences and to enrich the professional education of practitioners who work with young children and their families.
Early Development Instrument (EDI)
Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) assesses the developmental health of kindergarten children. It encompasses five major areas of child development: physical health and well-being, emotional maturity, social competence, language and cognitive development, and communication skills and general knowledge.
Kindergarten teachers complete EDI on each individual child. The results are grouped together to provide a snapshot of how children are doing across schools, neighbourhoods, cities, provinces, and countries.
The first Early Years Study championed such a monitoring tool leading to the support necessary to promote its use across Canada and internationally.
Early Childhood Education Report
Atkinson Centre, OISE, University of Toronto
The Early Childhood Education Report monitors provincial and territorial systems to evaluate the quality of provincial/territorial early childhood education. The first report was launched in Early Years Study 3 in 2011 and is released every three years using a 15-point scale. Results are populated from detailed profiles of each jurisdiction. The report is organized around five categories: governance, funding, access, quality, and monitoring with 19 benchmarks forming a common set of minimum criteria that contribute to the delivery of quality ECE programming.
Atkinson Centre Weekly e-Newsletter
OISE, University of Toronto
The Atkinson Centre sends out a weekly e-newsletter to subscribers highlighting research, reports, events, and news related to early childhood education in Canada and around the world.
The Lawson Foundation is working to advance outdoor play and ECE in Canada across policy, practice, and research.
The online module summarizes an international three-year initiative to explore research, policy, and practice related to early child development. It is designed for use in online or face-to-face education venues and to inform individuals, including policy makers, who are working with young children, their families, and communities.
Policy Commentaries and Reports
The Preemptive Nature of Quality Early Child Education on Special Educational Needs in Children
Memorial University, Newfoundland
David Philpott, Gabrielle Young, Kimberly Maich, Sharon Penney, and Emily Butler
Jane Bertrand & Kerry McCuaig
UNICEF Report Card 15 - The Equalizer: How Education Creates Fairness for Children in Canada
The Conference Board of Canada
Craig Alexander, Kip Beckman, Alicia Macdonald, Cory Renner & Matthew Steward
The Role of Public Policies in Promoting Equity in Early Childhood
In Global Report on Early Childhood Development
Global Consultative Group
Ed. Abbie Raikes. Kerry McCuaig, Emis Akbari, and Jane Bertrand
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