MERRITT - The B.C. government is investing $513,000 to help increase the number of early childhood educators throughout the province.
The funding is going to the Early Childhood Educators of BC to establish a bursary fund for students enrolling or enrolled in early childhood educational programs. To respond to identified needs, priority will be given to:
- Aboriginal students.
- Students attending early childhood educational programs with an Aboriginal focus.
- And students working to achieve an infant/toddler educator designation.
Students will be able to apply for up to $300 per course, to a maximum of $1,500 per semester.
Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux made the announcement at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt, one of 34 post-secondary institutions in B.C. that offer early childhood education programs.
The new bursary program is part of the government’s commitment to increase access to early childhood educator and care-provider training, as identified in the B.C. Early Years Strategy, launched in February 2013.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
“The early years sector has expressed a need for qualified early childhood educators in B.C., and in particular, Aboriginal ECEs and ECEs working with children under the age of three. I encourage current ECE students - and future ones - to apply for this new bursary so they can enter a career that makes a real difference in children’s lives every day.”
Emily Mlieczko, executive director, Early Childhood Educators of BC -
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to re-establish the ECE bursary program and support the development of a high-quality workforce. With the funding provided through the Ministry of Child and Family Development, the bursary program will be available for students wishing to advance their training in early childhood education. This is a welcome announcement and will make a positive impact on addressing the financial burden facing many choosing this career.”
John Chenoweth, dean, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology -
“The Aboriginal Early Childhood Educational program at NVIT uses Aboriginal cultures, traditions and values as part of the curriculum to prepare students to work in a variety of day-care settings. Students come away with an education that goes beyond classroom experiences including using natural environments, spirituality and language.”
“NVIT is excited to be contributing to the early years development as those students bring their learned Aboriginal concepts to their home communities or public day-care settings.”
Lindsay Lichty, Langara College ECE student -
“As an early childhood education student, finances become another element in the juggling act that is post-secondary education - another demand of time and energy that could be better invested in one's studies. The provision of bursaries is a way for organizations to demonstrate their support and encouragement of a future that is filled with dedicated early childhood educators with unlimited potential and reach.”
- The B.C. Early Years Strategy is an eight-year government commitment to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children.
- Government has committed $76 million to support the first three years of the strategy, including $32 million to support the creation of up to 2,000 new licensed child-care spaces.
- The strategy also includes a new BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit. Starting in April 2015, the benefit will provide $146 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $55 a month per child). In order to receive this benefit, parents file their annual income tax returns and apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. All parents with young children should ensure they file their 2013 tax return.
- The Early Years Strategy builds on the $1 billion per year government spends on early learning and childhood development initiatives, services and supports, including:
- Success by 6®, Children First and Aboriginal early childhood development programs.
- Full-day kindergarten.
- Programs that support healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy.
- Early childhood development care and learning program investments, including public health nursing, Ready, Set, Learn programs and StrongStart BC early learning programs.
- A variety of programs, services and supports to address the specific needs of children and youth with special needs.
- The Ministry of Children and Family Development invests $290 million on child care, a 37% increase since 2000-01.
- More than 104,000 licensed child-care spaces are currently funded in communities throughout B.C.
To learn about becoming a licensed Early Childhood Educator in B.C., visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/ece/training.htm
To learn more about the current range of early years services in B.C. and the strategy to make programs and services more integrated, accessible, affordable and higher quality, read the B.C. Early Years Strategy: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/pdf/FamiliesAgenda_EarlyYearsStrategy_web.pdf
For more information on early childhood development programs funded through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/index.htm
For more information on Early Learning programs through the Ministry of Education, such as full-day kindergarten and StrongStart BC, visit: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/
For information about applying for a student loan, visit: https://studentaidbc.ca/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development