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Supporting early childhood educators strengthens child care

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:42 PDT, Fri May 24, 2024


Additional funding for early childhood educators (ECE) is helping recruit and retain staff in the child care sector, leading to a more supported workforce and better outcomes for children and families.

“When child care professionals feel supported, children and their families are also better supported and we are all better off,” said Mitzi Dean, B.C. minister of state for child care. “We know there is no child care without the dedicated and skilled professionals who provide that care. These provincial and federal investments, which include post-secondary bursaries, peer mentoring and other professional-development opportunities, are some of the ways we are recognizing them.”

ECE students, including those just beginning their educational journey and those already working in the field and upgrading their credentials, will benefit from an additional $45 million for the ECE Education Support Fund. The fund, managed by Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC), provides as much as $5,000 per semester for eligible ECE students.

“Early childhood educators are at the heart of the early learning and child care system,” said Jenna Sudds, federal minister of families, children and social development. “Today’s announcement is a meaningful step in recognizing their essential work and ensuring they have the support they need throughout their studies and careers, while growing an affordable, high-quality child care system for families in British Columbia.”

Approximately $11 million in additional funding for new and ongoing professional learning opportunities is being provided for programs, such as the ECE Peer Mentoring program and the Early Years Professional Development Bursary program. Three organizations are working with the government to provide the programs to support child care professionals, and in doing so, give families peace of mind that their children are receiving the highest level of care.

“The ECE Peer Mentoring program has allowed me to remain in the field that I love when I was burned out and ready to leave,” said Tammy Jackson, ECE. “It provided me with the encouragement, professional development, tools and support to thrive in my profession rather than just survive. It is my belief that the program not only positively impacts the educators involved, but it has a positive impact on the children and families we work with.” 

As part of ChildCareBC, the province is investing in ECEs and child care professionals to ensure the child care sector can expand and grow to meet the needs of families in B.C. Increasing recruitment and retention of ECEs and child care professionals is a shared priority between the Province and the federal government.

The ECE Education Support Fund is supported by provincial investments and federal funding under the 2021-22 to 2025-26 Canada-British Columbia-Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

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