ECEs work in a broad and diverse sector. Historically, ECEs worked mainly in child care centres and services, including nursery schools and preschools. Over the past two decades ECEs have begun working in many different environments and in many different roles. Many ECEs work in family support programs including publicly funded Ontario Early Years Centres and Parent and Family Literacy Centres. ECEs have a specialized role in the full-day kindergarten program for all four and five-year olds and also play key roles in early intervention and resource teaching roles. This diversity in roles and experience is one of the reasons the ECE profession is so vibrant and interesting, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing to figure out where you belong and what you want to do as an ECE.
No matter where you work you must be registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators to use the title Registered Early Childhood Educator or RECE. In Ontario RECEs work within and are held accountable to a code of ethics and standards of practice set out by the College of Early Childhood Educators. For more information on public policy and the ECE go to http://www.aeceo.ca/public_policy
WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS
Depending on where you work and your role, ECEs experience very diverse working conditions. For example, many ECEs working in family support programs are employed part-time in one or more programs. ECEs working in regulated child care programs experience a great diversity in location, hours, program organization and philosophy, unionization and other working conditions/agreements. With the introduction of Full Day Kindergarten in Ontario, ECEs are now also working in schools under the administration of a school board. With such a large variety of environments in which ECEs can work the wages and working conditions can also greatly vary.
Wages for early childhood educators vary based on experience, education, position and work setting. The hourly wage for an ECE in Ontario can range from $11 to $40 per hour (http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/). It has been well documented that the working conditions of ECEs is directly linked to the quality of the program. Wages are a huge factor that contribute to an ECE’s wellbeing and ability to best perform their role.
Working conditions such as paid preparation time, adequate breaks, paid vacation, medical benefits, pension plans and access to professional learning and programs support also impact ECEs’ well-being and their ability to provide the best education and care to children. Quality working environments are dependent on multiple factors as can be seen in the image below. These factors vary depending on where you work.
Factors Affecting Work Life and Job Satisfaction
Source: Expert Panel on Quality and Human Resources. “Investing in Quality”, 2007, p.61
The following articles can provide further understanding on the impact of wages and working conditions on ECEs and the work that they do.