I am currently a third-year student in the Early Childhood Leadership degree program at George Brown College and I’m interning this summer at the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO). During my orientation I read through a list of published policy reports and AECEO publications.
All these reports focus on the current changes in our sector. The reports that I would like to highlight that really impacted my understanding of what is currently happening in the sector are Ontario's Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework created a plan to transform early years and child care systems in Ontario to provide continuous learning for 100,000 more children. This is a way to promote and make child care universal for all. It will provide care for more children across Ontario which is extremely important to have as children’s development and growth begins in the early years. By doing this in Ontario, it will increase the accessibility and spaces for children and families, but the government must still address affordability and quality care.
Another report that impacted me after reading through it was: 2015-2019 Toronto Children's Services Service Plan. This City of Toronto document outlines a plan to delivery services to children and families in Toronto as there are important improvements that need to be made to be accomplished: access to high quality child care, inclusive support for all families, engagement, partnership and communication, systems change and leadership. This report impacts my future as an educator because, having a plan that delivers services to children and families in the City of Toronto, it will increase the number of spaces and job opportunities.
Affordablefor all: Making licensed child care affordable in Ontario is a report by Dr. Gordon Cleveland that outlines the factors of child care affordability for all children and families with evidence and ideas the Government of Ontario should consider implementing free child care for preschoolers. This report, I believe is a very important read for every family and educator because it outlines how Ontario is able to provide free child care for preschoolers. The report gives families, educators and decision makers an understanding of how child care can be made more affordable for all and where the cost would come from. Dr. Cleveland reports that implementing free preschool can provide more affordable child care for all age groups in the future and open up more job opportunities. This is exciting for me as I will graduate next year and hope that there will be many doors open for myself and other educators.
The AECEO publications also discuss current changes within our sector such as the article: I'm more than just an ECE: Decent work from the perspective of Ontario's Early Childhood Workforce. This reportdiscusses the Professional Pay and Decent Work project and presents ECEs perspectives on working conditions, professional learning, and public value. This reading particularly stood out to me because, I am a student who anticipates to graduate and work in the field where good working conditions and professional learning is truly valuable to me as a future educator and emerging leader.
After completing the readings and my orientation at the AECEO I have a better understanding of what is currently occurring in the ECE sector. The readings really opened my eyes to how the ECE sector is changing and how it impacts the entire province, children, families, educators and communities. It got me thinking about the future of the sector. There were several topics that caught my attention while I was reading the reports and publications. These topics include, making child care affordable and accessible, increasing wages for ECEs and the importance of the provincial election.
When child care is affordable and accessible for all children and families it has a huge impact on society as a whole as it provides more opportunities for children to develop and grow and receive quality care. It gives parents the opportunity to attend school and work to make a living. The importance of increasing wages for ECEs, will keep ECEs working in the sector, it will show recognition of their high-level qualifications, the value of their work and participation in continuous professional learning. All these topics have impacted my view as I was not really aware of how each of the four major political parties’ have stated their views on child care and what they plan to do for children and families. Now, I understand what each party is proposing for child care. Based off of a chart the AECEO and OCBCC created, the two parties that are aiming for the road to universal child care is the Liberal party and the NDP. No matter which party forms government, the results of the election will impact our sector’s future.
I have learned a lot from these readings as I believe these policy reports and AECEO publications are very important, impactful and inspiring. All RECEs, ECAs and ECE students to should take the time to learn about the developments in our sector in order to have a better understanding of policies that impact our sector and our practice as early childhood educators.
In particular, I believe students will become more curious, develop interests and want to expand their knowledge after reading policy reports and AECEO publications. This can have an impact on the sector because it can bring students who are passionate about the early years to work towards a common goal. As students we foster our own growth and learning. We create meaningful and reflective thinking as it can link current experiences to past experiences. By having a better understanding of current issues in the sector it as it will impact how we view the world around us.