March 1, 2021

Childcare and ‘She-covery’

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum reported that the resulting recession had created larger employment losses for women than for men: with women’s labour supply still 20% below pre-recession levels, compared with men’s labour supply only 9% lower. Economist Armine Yalnizyan urged policymakers to take into account the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on women and Canadian households as employed women often shoulder a greater share of childcare responsibilities than their male counterparts. “There is no recovery without a ‘she-covery,’” she said, “and no recovery without childcare.”

In November, we were encouraged to see the federal government recognize the importance childcare as a means of inclusive recovery and progress towards gender equality in its Fall Economic Statement. Accessible and affordable childcare is a key part of Canada’s social infrastructure and is crucial to creating jobs and driving economic growth.

Did you know that colleges and institutes across the country are the primary providers of education and training for early childhood educators, offering over 200 early childhood education programs in one-year certificates, two and three-year diplomas, and four-year bachelor’s degrees? Post-graduate programs also give early childhood educators the opportunity to specialize in areas such as administration, resource consulting, and supporting children with special needs:

  • Écoéducation par la nature at Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup is a new skills upgrading program tailored for early childhood education professionals to help develop the competencies needed to integrate eco-responsibilities and nature into to their daily lessons and activities with children. The program is also flexible and offered online and through distance learning.
  • Techniques d’éducation à l’enfance at Collège Montmorency is a three-year program in early childhood education that includes three work-integrated learning opportunities and is strengthened by deep relationships with community associations in the region. The college is also leading a new provincial committee to encourage the participation of men in the field!
  • At Yukon University, the Early Learning and Child Care program is tailored to meet the needs identified by the community for the educational preparation of early childhood educators and includes training on the university’s Yukon First Nations Core Competency.
  • Douglas College’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Special Needs certificate is a two-semester credential that gives ECE graduates the specialized skills to work with children of diverse abilities.
  • At Red River CollegeScience of Early Child Development (SECD) is a world-renowned knowledge mobilization initiative designed to make current research accessible to those interested in learning more about the impacts of the early years on lifelong health and well-being. SECD’s tools and online resources include four Living Textbooks, a Child Development Primer Module, and a Prenatal Development Module.
  • Early childhood education at Collège La Cité is delivered through a hybrid and flexible training model called Mobilicité that includes pre-employment training modules offered in workplace settings, online modules, and intensive and accelerated courses to develop skills quickly.
  • Loyalist College and the YMCA Northumberland have partnered to provide YMCA employees with access to the college’s online, part-time Early Childhood Education diploma program emphasizing inclusive practices, partnerships with families, multiple intelligences, and evidence-based practices. The tailored delivery option also gives staff the flexibility and convenience of pursuing post-secondary education while working full-time.
  • Holland College’s Early Childhood Care and Education Year 2 pilot program is taking an innovative spin with a part-time and blended learning delivery format allowing students to complete the 10-credit program and obtain their ECCE diploma while maintaining employment. The program is part of the Atlantic Colleges Atlantique’s College Transformation des Collèges project and is funded by the Future Skills Centre.

Innovation in this space is essential to ensure a recovery that is both feminist and intersectional. To support needed growth in the early childhood educator workforce, Canada needs flexible training to increase the number of early childhood educators and accelerate pathways in the field.