All children and families deserve accessible, affordable, high-quality child care: this is a fundamental right with far-reaching benefits for society as a whole. Unfortunately, the high cost of child care, the shortage of spaces, and the challenges of recruiting and retaining qualified staff mean that regulated, high-quality child care services are often not accessible to the children and families who need them.
Learn About Quality Child Care
Children are citizens. Their right to education including quality early learning and child care is protected by law. Families, communities and governments share responsibility for ensuring that children have the care, support and services they need to survive, thrive and develop their full potential.
It's easy to say that people shouldn't have kids they can't afford, or that moms should stay home and look after their kids. The fact is that women have a right to work and in many families, both parents have to work if they are to make ends meet. As a society, Albertans need child care. So unless we want to live in a world without children, it's up to us to make sure that families have the quality early learning and child care they need.
Quality child care doesn't happen by itself. It's part of a well-planned, well -managed and well-funded early learning and child care system. Creating an effective system requires structural change, long-term commitment and cooperation between governments and communities. Most important, it requires public funding and public support.
Maybe you don't need child care. So why should you care if Alberta has a quality early learning and child care system? The fact is that quality child care affects everyone in every sector of society. Like education and universal health care, it's a public good that needs public funding and support. That makes it everyone's business.
Quality child care is an essential service for Albertans and their families. It supports our economy, our businesses, our communities and our quality of life.
In early 2020, 109,000 Alberta children were enrolled in 2,900 licensed or approved child care programs staffed by a workforce of 18,000.
Quality early learning and child care lays the foundation for health, well-being and success in life. It fosters children’s creativity and curiosity. It develops language and problem-solving skills. It helps children appreciate different people and different cultures. It nurtures resiliency, determination, self-confidence and self-worth. It values children as our youngest citizens. And it makes learning fun.
High-quality early learning and child care depends on well-qualified, well-paid and well-supported early childhood educators. A solid workforce strategy supports early childhood educators in providing quality care. It ensures that early childhood educators are well-supported, earn a fair wage and have the qualifications they need to support children's learning and development.