British Columbia families and their children will soon benefit from the latest methods in early years teaching and learning, such as using play-based learning to help children build speech and language skills.
This is part of an investment that will give early childhood educators (ECEs) and other child care providers more professional development (pro-d) training. This is the first investment in pro-d for the child care sector in more than a decade.
The Province is investing $6.3 million into a variety of programs through its three-year, $153-million Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada.
“The first years of life are the building blocks for language, reading and sound development,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “That is why I am pleased that the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are working together to better support early childhood educators who have an extraordinary opportunity to help children in their earliest stages of life.”
Six organizations – the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia ($500,000), BCcampus ($250,000), BC Family Child Care Association ($750,000), Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC) ($1 million), New Relationship Trust Foundation ($1 million) and Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre ($2.7 million) – are receiving funding to:
- expand training in key areas, including leadership, administration, management and ethics, as well as courses targeted specifically at family child care providers;
- offer a bursary for existing ECEs to help them with the cost of accessing professional development opportunities;
- expand and improve access to online tools and resources, to support child care professionals in rural and remote communities;
- create resources, including online learning modules and a dedicated handbook, to help child care providers make their programming more inclusive for Indigenous families; and
- improve access to ECE programs for Indigenous peoples through student bursaries and other supports, such as web-based resources and distance learning options.
“The early years are key to a child’s brain development and that is why investing in early learning is so important – for children and for our society as a whole. As a former ECE, I know how much children benefit when their educators have access to training, tools and resources to deliver and enrich those experiences,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.'s Minister of Children and Family Development. “By supporting ECEs, we are boosting the quality of child care across the province and helping to give even more B.C. kids the best possible start in life.”
Child care professionals around the province will be able to access a mix of face-to-face and online courses, training sessions, handbooks, videos and podcasts. More details about each program will be available through the funded organizations in the coming months.
“Every dollar that goes toward supporting the child care sector is an investment in the future of B.C.’s children,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.'s Minister of State for Child Care. “ECEs teach children to dream big and develop a love of learning from an early age. With this funding, even more ECEs across the province will have access to the supports and resources they need to inspire and nurture B.C. children for many years to come.”
This investment is part of Government’s Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which was launched in September 2018. As previously announced, this strategy is offering increased supports for the child care sector, including a $1-per-hour wage enhancement for eligible ECEs, as well as an enhanced bursary for ECE students.
Under Childcare BC, the Province is investing more than $1.3 billion in child care to lay the foundation for a universal child care system over the first four years of the plan. Investments in child care professionals address the Province’s commitment to quality child care in B.C. and complement its goals of working with the sector to help make child care more affordable and accessible for B.C. families.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Terry Beech, MP for Burnaby North–Seymour –
“For children across Canada, including here in British Columbia, access to high quality, flexible child care allows their parents the ability to enter the workforce or finish school. This is an important part of our commitment to supporting middle-class Canadians, and those working hard to join it, and ensuring Canadian children get the best possible start in life."
- In January 2019, the ministry launched a $1-per-hour wage enhancement for eligible ECEs. As of Feb. 27, 2019, it delivered more than $5 million to child care providers to help enhance ECE wages throughout B.C., with over 7,500 ECEs currently verified for payments.
- As part of the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, the ministry has expanded the ECE Bursary, which is administered by ECEBC. ECEBC approved more than 1,100 applications for just over $2 million to support students in the fall 2018 semester.
For more information and to read the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, visit:
The ECE bursary is currently available at 32 post-secondaries throughout B.C. For more information and to apply, visit: www.ecebc.ca/programs/student_bursary.html
To learn more about child care in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
Childcare BC factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
A backgrounder follows.