Early Learning and Affordable Childcare Strategy

Affordable childcare and early learning are necessary for our economic recovery.

To ensure full participation in economic recovery, the foundational infrastructure to get parents - particularly women - back to work is critical. Universal, quality, affordable, and accessible early learning and child care is that infrastructure.

A robust and sustainable early learning and child care sector is necessary for Alberta women to be able to return to work, increase their hours of work, or pursue training for new employment opportunities. Government investment in new or expanding work opportunities for women will be ineffective if early learning and child care supports are not in place for women to access these opportunities. This means early learning and child care must be affordable and flexible to meet the needs of Albertans, in all areas of the province.

The early learning and child care system also needs to be grounded in the principles of quality early learning. This means supporting child care operators in meeting high standards of early childhood education. The primary indicator of quality early childhood education is the qualifications and ongoing professional development of early childhood educators. 

Early learning and child care is the necessary infrastructure to get Alberta women back to work and contributing to economic recovery and growth. It creates jobs, increases women’s participation in the workforce, and invests in the long-term educational outcomes of our children.

- Rakhi Pancholi

 

We have proposed 6 recommendations in our report. However, this is not an exhaustive or finalized list of policies. We want to hear your thoughts and add your ideas. Please contact us, comment or attend the upcoming consultations. 

 

 Our Proposals

  1. Release unspent Budget 2020-21 funding for child care to stabilize the sector and minimize parent fee increases.

  2. Improve existing online tools by creating an online Early Learning and Child Care mapping system and portal to (1) identify where childcare is currently available and; (2) track where new spaces and the kinds of spaces are needed to improve accessibility.

  3. Support full implementation of Alberta’s “Flight” early childhood curriculum at all child care centres & approved family day homes to ensure the pillars of quality early childhood education are in place.

  4. Support quality early learning by developing and implementing a workforce strategy for early childhood educators that includes strategies to improve educational attainment, support professional development, and address long-term challenges associated with the attraction and retention of the workforce.

  5. Immediately establish an Early Learning and Child Care Task Force to:

    • implement the universal $25/day quality early learning and child care program,

    • assist in the development of a comprehensive workforce strategy for early childhood educators

    • develop further strategies to address inclusive and accessible early learning and child care.

  6. Implement province-wide, universal $25/day quality early learning and child care provided through public, licensed non-profit & private child care programs and family dayhome providers.

 

Please read our full report for rationale of each proposal and background information on how Alberta can provide high quality and affordable early learning and childcare. 

Leave a Comment

Matt Carrette

Posted

Preposterous! How did any of us survive before socialism? When we raised our children, if you couldn’t afford them, you didn’t have them! Stuff is expensive, we had many conversations-yes, conversations with our kids discussing the sacrifices we had to make to enable what they wanted. Hockey is a perfect example. “Hockey means no swimming, field trips or camper”. Pretty simple. Society can’t afford to provide everything always. Preposterous!

Charlotte Rode

Posted

This is of, course, an absolutely necessary proposal and well thought out. Many of us in our community knew the importance of quality childcare and spent our early days with young children getting the YMCA on board as a partner in our community to provide high quality out-of-school care. Stable, creative families and strong, supportive communities are the building blocks for economic recovery and stability. It is necessary for a healthy society. I support your efforts to create this for our province.

Jasmine Alibhai

Posted

I am a small business owner who had to lay off many staff during the pandemic because I lost massive revenue. This forced me to enroll my twins in one of the approved ELCC centres and losing the funding will be catastrophic to my family because I cannot afford childcare at regular rates so will have to stay home with them. This may mean closing my business and even more people losing their jobs. We need more affordable universal childcare!

Marianne

Posted

We really need this program. Now i have a child and i am so worried that i need to stop working because we cant afford the child care anymore. If i stop working then we cant afford to pay for our house and other bills. Having an affordable child care help me and my family to cope up with all of our monthly bills

Morgan Nadeau

Posted

Quality Childcare is a top priority! With the correct allocation of funds we can have childcare that is more available cost wise to families, and have the ability to hire and train more qualified staff (and have better pay for those qualified staff). We need a higher standard of care for our youngest citizens.

Sarah Nychka

Posted

I very much agree with this proposal and feel strongly that affordable and quality child care is essential. I would like to add that there is evidence based research that demonstrates that for every dollar spent on quality early education, society is paid back double in the long term as children given healthy support are more successful in school and in future work. The quality of social and emotional development practices is particularly important in early childhood settings as this impacts life long mental health. I hope that along with the FLIGHT curriculum, the pyramid model practices for social and emotional development will also be included in the professional development supports. Many children are expelled from child care settings due to challenging behaviour, that caregivers feel unable to support due to lack of resources. There needs to be a much clearer understanding for centres on how to access supports when they are needed so that these children are not asked to leave settings. Thank you.

K. Campbell

Posted

Kudos to Rahki Pancholi (and the NDP team) for putting forward this well-researched proposal. As clearly mentioned at the outset, it is a proposal -- to be discussed by Albertans, who are invited to submit their thoughts and suggestion -- and not a fait accompli. Hence, the more discussion Albertans have around this, the better the eventual program. Clearly, ELCC for challenged and non-traditional learners affects many Albertans, and will need to be reflected in an eventual, better solution than we currently have in Alberta. While Affordability and Accessibility are indeed paramount to ELCC, I believe that the concept of Quality must always be kept in focus as well, and will help address the historically low wages & 'poor reputation' of this sector. Additionally, proper licensing is essential, so as to prevent the appalling and criminal fatalities we have witnessed in recent years. Finally, in terms of the proposal itself, I believe that there is a degree of repetition in the final recommendations, and that #s 4,5, and 6 can easily be combined into a single recommendation. Thank you.

Jodi-Lynn King

Posted

How about our children with disabilities who lost their supports in school? Given the puf funding was cut. What about after the kindergarten? Will there be aids again given to these children who still struggle with some development delays and other disabilities?

Kim Kelly

Posted

In-hospital childcare for all hospital workforce, in both urban and rural hospitals. This would significantly help with recruitment of healthcare professionals. Good for the economy, the healthcare system, patients, and the workforce.

Kim Endell

Posted

Care supports for youth who’ve “aged out” of child care but require personal care and supervision. I have been unable to work since March as my son aged out at the end of the school year and there are no centres in Edmonton that provide out of school care for youth (13-17) with disabilities. 12 and younger can access supports through daycares/ out of school cares. 18+ can access PDD services. Only Sherwood Park, the Robin Hood Association, has an out of school centre for disabled students grades 7-12.

Rose Maynard

Posted

Thanks to the NDP for placing emphasis on Universal childcare. It would be monumental to establish accessible, quality childcare. My feedback to you is to study models from other countries. Consider Early Learning as an extension of education requiring staff to be highly trained and then also paid in a professional manner. Childcare centres should not be profit oriented in my opinion. I believe they can function well as a not for profit organization but I think it is unethical to link childcare and early learning to a profitable business. It is important to look at urban licensing rules and regulations and ponder the placement of childcare centres in strip malls versus neighbourhoods. Children require healthy, beautiful , homelike outdoor spaces not strips of tarmac with chain linked fences surrounding them. Quality childcare has many levels: environment, staffing, curriculum and accessibility. Please continue on with this issue. It is important. Complicated... very complicated contrasting what is in place now and what is needed to achieve quality. R.Maynard

Angela

Posted

I wonder if the $25/ day childcare could be offered for families under a certain income bracket? Childcare and Early Education needs to be valued by society and that is shown in the wages paid to the staff. If you want better qualified staff, this needs to be reflected in pay. I also echo the increasing difficult situations that families who have children with disabilities/ disorders have in accessing childcare. Daycares kick these kids out because of lack of knowledge of how to support them. Also many of these childcare need a higher ratio of staff to care for their needs. Some who are medically fragile or are a danger to themselves or others need care in their homes.

Rupesh

Posted

All proposals are great and need to be implemented.

Dolina Watson

Posted

Quality Childcare is of primary importance. It must be in place to aid economic recovery and support Alberta families. It is equally vital for men as it is for women in the workforce.

Kim

Posted

I run a dayhome out of my house and I still have a family that I uses the program that Rachel Notley put in place .

Maruja

Posted

Thank you for the proposal I’m absolutely agreed, with the proposal having a qualified childcare worker is fundamental . Also the 25 day universal day care it is a must as many parents can’t afford day care to go back to work. I was working in a 25 day care , when the government removed the funds I had been laid off,because the daycare I was working close his door leaving parent with not day care for their children. Also bit is a very good idea that “Flight” should be part of the Alberta child care curriculum”.

Bryna Sclater

Posted

You have absolutely missed a disability lens in this effort as others have mentioned. There are massive barriers affecting families of kids with disabilities in accessing care. Please reach out to the disability community, there are many things from that perspective that can be woven into this plan.

Julia

Posted

Inclusion was addressed-the ECE workforce cannot support children with special needs as long as there is no legislation requiring credentials/training and not enough funding. The UPC will make cuts to this, continuing with allowing equivalencies to join the work force and cutting PD funds.

Lindsay

Posted

The proposal does not mention any supports for children with development disabilities. My son is autistic, he is not accepted at most childcare centers I have enquired to due to lack of staffing and expense. This is a serious barrier to me being able to find full time employment.

Shirley SamuelHaynes

Posted

Thanks for the offer of feedback for your early learning proposals. Overall not bad. Its focus is on working mothers who do not make a lot of money. You miss other albertans with your proposals 1. Although affordable childcare typically is a women’s issue. This assumes it is primarily heterosexual couples wanting affordable childcare and primarily mothers who value early learning. The language is not inclusive so I wonder whom are you consulting. There needs to be a shift in the principle that primarily women take on the tasks associated with children. Documents like this don’t facilitate the shift. They reinforce the norms. Fathers need to step up! Most are stepping up. They should be interested in their young children’s development especially when it correlates to life long success for their children. Early learning is not free baby sitting! I think if you added terms like parents and family it is more likely to be inclusive. 2. Speaking of a lack of inclusion, what about families with children with developmental differences!!! NOTHING in your proposals include them!!! Again whom are you consulting!! There is a plethora of research on the lack of accessible quality childcare for children with developmental differences. In fact sometimes this is denied to children with developmental differences when their typically developing peers are accessing quality publicly funded early learning opportunities!! This happened in ON under the Liberals. So progressive parties are not always understanding and the answer. A lot of childcare facilities are not well equipped to teach children with developmental differences; setting them up for further disappointments, more exclusive educational settings and failures. I strongly believe many mothers of children with developmental differences lose their employment because of this barrier. These families are home and food insecure. This injustice needs to change. Your document does not address this problem. I am sure it is worse with the reduction of PUF. 3. In fact the latest document from the ministry regarding the summer survey results, mentions a program for inclusive childcare programs. I admit there is paucity in the details. Perhaps you should investigate this program further. At least they know it is a barrier!! Do you? 4. I did share my letters to the ministry and their response to you. I wrote about these barriers and asked you about this new inclusive childcare program. I guess it wasn’t important!! 5. I am lucky my child is fairly independent now. In the past he was not. Prior to the pandemic my child had an aid with him because of his developmental differences. This was funded by supportive childcare. I think the funding moved to another department. It was reassuring knowing your child had someone watching him. Although accountability needed to be addressed. With centres opening recently with limitation on numbers, centres have not hired these aids. This is another barrier!! It has been okay in our case because there are fewer children overall and my child can integrate. Not everyone is as blessed. As opposition critic I hope you address this issue.