The Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007, established the College of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (CECE), the regulatory college for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs). Registration with the college is mandatory if you wish to work in a position labeled early childhood educator and/or call yourself an early childhood educator. The CECE website outlines that the Act includes:
- A definition of what constitutes the practice of the profession;
- A requirement for persons to be members [of the college] in order to practise the profession;
- Title protection authorizing only members of the College to use the titles "early childhood educator" or "registered early childhood educator" or an abbreviation;
The primary role of the college, as defined in the Act, is to protect the public and hold the profession and those using the professional title of ‘Early Childhood Educator’ accountable. As outlined on the college website, “the College is not an educational institution or a professional association that advocates for early childhood educators. It is an organization that helps to serve and protect children and families by setting registration requirements and ethical and professional standards for registered early childhood educators (RECEs), and governing member conduct through a complaints and discipline process”.
In contrast to the College of ECEs, the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (AECEO) is the professional association for early childhood educators and has a mandate to advocate on behalf of the profession and support their work by responding to current issues on their behalf, providing ongoing resources and information about the ECEC field, and providing opportunities for professional development and collaboration. Membership with the AECEO, however, is not mandatory.
For more information about the relationship between an association (the AECEO) and a regulatory body (College of ECEs) click here.
The College of ECEs released new requirements and a framework for Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) in the fall of 2014. The CPL program is still voluntary for Registered Early Childhood Educators but it will become mandatory in the near future. Members are encouraged to begin the process at the time of their next renewal.
All the information to get started on your CPL program is available at the College of Early Childhood Educators website. According to the college, “the CPL program is an ongoing learning experience and provides a framework for continuous professional learning for the diverse professionals who practice early childhood education in Ontario”.