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,

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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 .

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.

Rupesh

Posted

All proposals are great and need to be implemented.

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.

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