The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC are pleased to announce the release of our Briefing Note on our Emerging Plan for an Integrated System of Early Care and Learning in BC.
The Emerging Plan is part of our organizations’ response to BC’s implementation of full school day Kindergarten for 5 year olds and the promise of some kind of ‘pre kindergarten’ for 3 and 4 year olds to follow.
On the one hand, the extension of universal, publicly funded free services to young children is positive and welcome. On the other, unlike Ontario and other provinces, BC is proceeding without a strategy that recognizes or includes the child care sector or meets the needs of all families – particularly working families.
In the face of this reality – we agreed that rather than wait for change to happen, we would use our voices to inform and influence it. We would develop and share our vision of how BC can and should integrate early care and learning.
Our emerging plan builds on what is already well established. Families need access to quality care. Quality child care IS early learning. Current policies and approaches do not meet the need of BC’s children and families. Public spending on the early years is a wise social and economic investment. Quality matters.
Rather than repeat this evidence, our Emerging Plan offers a new and creative approach to how BC can and should integrate early care and learning.
Highlights of the Emerging Plan include:
- A new home for all community and school based early care and learning programs for young children in the Ministry of Education.
- A new Early Care and Learning Act to enshrine the rights of young children to services that meet their developmental needs and the rights of families to access quality care and learning services.
- Early Care and Learning Plans developed by local Boards of Education with stakeholders involvement.
- Early Years Centres – an alternative, more appropriate approach than part day pre-Kindergarten – where young children participate in full or part time early care and learning programs while their families are at work, study or home.
- A process to integrate existing group and family child care and pre-school into Early Years Centres.
- An enhanced approach to Kindergarten and Grade 1 with ECEs joining teachers as part of the staff team.
- A workforce development plan that moves ECEs towards parity with teachers while respecting their unique expertise.
- A way to get from here to there that, with accountability measures in place, welcomes existing providers into the new system.
Our Emerging Plan does not answer every question or provide every detail. Rather, it reflects our thinking so far.
We are sharing it now to ensure these ideas are part of the public dialogue and to learn from community questions and responses as we move towards finalizing the Plan and mobilizing community support for its implementation.
We are excited about the Plan and confident that it has the potential to move BC forward with a new system that meets the needs of children and families through quality services much like those offered elsewhere in the country and around the world.
Over the next few months we will be briefing partners and communities about our Emerging Plan for an Integrated System of Early Care and Learning.
Here’s how you can join the discussion and help shape the future of early care and learning in BC:
- Review the Emerging Plan - download it here
- Respond to our on-line survey at http://surveymonkey.com/s/emerging_plan (before December 15)
- View the Webinar online (available soon)
- Attend a Briefing Session in your community (for information contact your local ECEBC Branch or ECD Table).
Download this as a PDF