A quality early learning and child care system is supported by effective infrastructure., parents, communities, early childhood educators and the child care sector all have a voice.
Infrastructure includes practical, well-monitored regulations, standards and guidelines. These are legislated by governments or set by professional or regulatory agencies.
In a well-functioning system, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. Governments, communities and parents all have a place at the table. Consultation is regular and ongoing. And formalized interorganizational relationships ensure that children and families can access an integrated, interdisciplinary suite of programs and services.
A seamless connection between early learning and child care and the education system is particularly important.
Families need support to provide their children with nurturing care. They need financial support such as paid parental leave. They also need access to health, education, nutrition, child care and child protection.
A well-functioning system connects children and families to the resources they need. Alberta’s current approach is uncoordinated and inefficient. Numerous departments and ministries provide various bits and pieces of child and family support.