In February 2020, AECEA released their recommendations for when the child care licensing Act and Regulations expire in January 2021. These recommendations were the product of countless hours of research on best practices in the early learning and child care (ELCC) field in Alberta, best practices in ELCC around the world, and engagements with Alberta's early childhood educators.
Well-qualified, caring early childhood educators are the prime determinant of a quality child care system, and education is the prime determinant of qualified early childhood educators. Sadly, the educational preparation of Alberta’s early learning and child care workforce is well below international standards.
In many countries, early childhood educators must have at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field. A two-year diploma in early learning and child care is widely accepted as a bare minimum requirement.
In Alberta, only 43% of early childhood educators have a two-year diploma, and for a significant portion of this group, the diploma does not relate to early learning and child care. Forty per cent of early childhood educators have only a 54-hour child care orientation course. Most of Alberta’s early childhood educators have few opportunities for ongoing professional development. All work for low wages in challenging environments—often without health or disability benefits, paid vacations or pension plans, and often with little respect for the important work they do.
This is not good enough. And it’s not right.
This review of Alberta’s child care licensing legislation provides an opportunity for positive change. Legislating higher qualification standards and supports for early childhood educators can help to build an effective, high-quality early learning and child care system that gives Alberta’s children the best possible start in life.
This review could be the first step in truly professionalizing the ELCC workforce in Alberta, and achieving our vision for the field of well-qualified, well-compensated early childhood educators that are respected as professionals, valued for their important work, and supported in providing high-quality child care for Alberta’s children and families.
On June 15, 2020 the Government of Alberta released surveys for educators, owners/operators, and parents/caregivers for the public to complete to offer feedback on items in the child care licensing Act and Regulations that could be changed. Please follow the links below to access the surveys.
Please note, the government has indicated that the surveys will close on July 15, 2020.