The Correspondence File: Letters About Early Childhood Educators, Teachers, and Early Learning in Ontario (Part III)
Part III in a three-part series about the move to full-time kindergarten in Ontario. Part I featured an interview with Julia Lipman of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario. Part II featured my interview with Pat Dickinson, program director for the Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies, Charles Sturt University (Ontario).
The following letters highlight the strengths of early childhood educators and/or urge the government to proceed with full-day kindergarten programs with early childhood educators and teachers working as equal partners.
ECEs HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT IN COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS AND CHILDREN
My experience with ECE’s is through the Best Start Hubs. I have been able to recognize that ECEs have a special talent of communicating with parents and children. If an ECE has a concern about a child and they bring it up to a parent, a parent is more apt to act. A parent feels less threatened by an ECE than a teacher. ECE’s have more experience with children having behavioural or health issues. I believe that the ECE’s would be a definite asset in bridging the gap between parents and the health of children. ECE’s seem to be better trained in dealing with and understanding children. They also have more time to focus on the children and their difficulties than on the work that must be accomplished by the teachers’ mandate.
Sheri Johnson Purdon
Community Mental Health Worker - Postpartum Depression
Canadian Mental Health Association - Sudbury/Manitoulin Branch
WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT BENDING TO PRESSURE FROM TEACHERS?
As an early childhood educator and Professor of Early Childhood Education at our college, I feel that the qualifications and general opinion of ECE teachers are not taken seriously and are still considered "babysitters".
As a Professor of Early Childhood Education, I can tell you that the ECE teachers have a 2 year concentration in child development and are very capable of teaching in a Kindergarten setting. Do the primary teachers have the same education necessary for this age group? ECE teachers also belong to the College of ECEs.
Why is the government bending to pressure from the teachers when the study clearly states that the children/program would benefit from a blend of primary teachers and early childhood educators? Would you not want to put the best combination of teachers together for the benefits of the children/program? A good boss/team leader puts the best people in the positions for maximum benefit. Do you want teachers who are not educated in child development to plan a program for the children? ECE teachers know how to do this and are taught by very qualified professors.
It is time to listen to the ECE teachers and to give them the recognition they deserve.
Judy Rose, R.E.C.E.
A Child's Secret Garden Daycare Inc.and
Professor of Early Childhood Education
St. Lawrence College
ABOUT TURF PROTECTION
To me this issue is about protectionism/turf protection, and the union exerting pressure to protect what they believe is an opportunity for new jobs. Meanwhile, I believe that relationships could be damaged and there needs to be a big push on the ECE side. (College/university ECE teachers need to advocate for the way the system can work.)
Beth Anne Currie
works with many early childhood educators and has provided workshops, training, and support to early childhood educators over the past 5 years
RESENT INCREASED COST TO TAXPAYERS WHEN ECES HAVE EXPERTISE
I am the Nipissing Best Start coordinator.
Here is a copy of the letter I sent to [my] MPP when I saw this article.
Member of Provincial Parliament
Today’s article in the Toronto Star regarding the favouring of implementation of full-day learning for four year olds by certified elementary teachers deeply concerns me and I wanted to take a minute to express my views from the perspective of a parent, a teacher and now the Nipissing Best Start Coordinator.
It has been my very great pleasure to work with many community partners including teachers and early educators in the child care system during my time as Nipissing Best Start Coordinator. From that perspective and from the perspective of a working parent whose children did not have the advantage of an early learning system and who entered school at the SK level for half days, I am disheartened that the expertise of early educators who have been entrusted with the early learning and care of our children for many many years is now being diminished under pressure from teachers who feel that their expertise should supersede that of early educators. Each educator brings to the child very specialized skills that together enrich the early learning environment for the child who may be as young as three years eight months.
There are many examples of early learning environments in schools now where the responsibility for the child and his or her early learning is shared extremely effectively by JK teachers and Early Childhood Educators including one in our own area at EW Norman Public School which I invite you to visit at your earliest convenience. During the past year responsibilities for curriculum, care, parent contact, referrals and many other classroom teaching strategies are planned and handled cooperatively and effectively. Together with the parent, the children’s optimal development is supported holistically and together with our specialized community partners extra help is provided as required.
As a taxpayer I resent the anticipated increased cost to taxpayers. These dollars would be better used to support children with identified needs where early educators and teachers are being highly challenged to provide the extra contact, intervention and reporting that may be required. Yes, many schools have been providing full day early learning for some time but this was a decision made by school boards at a time when other more cost effective options were not available.
Dr. Pascal’s report is well researched and suggests a model that will meet the needs of all families and children effectively and this should be implemented using the cost effective strategies described in the plan and that certainly do not compromise the education of our children.
I would welcome the opportunity to arrange a visit for you to EW Norman Public School where you can witness for yourself how well the model proposed by Dr. Pascal can work and at which time we can discuss this in more depth with the educators at that school location. You will then be able to provide extensive and accurate feedback to Premier McGuinty about a very successful shared teaching arrangement right here in North Bay.
I look forward to sharing a few moments with you about this topic at this year’s Let the Learning Begin Family Conference.
Karen E. Cobb
P.S. The content of this email is the opinion of the writer only.
SUCCESS REPORT FROM ONTARIO'S LARGEST FRANCOPHONE DAYCARE PROVIDER
The Centre de ressources familiales de l'Estrie is proud to inform you that
we are the largest francophone daycare provider in Ontario.
We would like to share with the public the we have established and
maintained successful partnerships with the two school boards in our region.
We are proud to collaborate with them in offering the full day learning
Our qualified early childhood educators and the teaching staff have worked
in collaboration since 2000, to offer the best possible program for the
children and their families. We continue to build ont that success. Parents
are elated with this approach.
On day one the child attends class with the teacher and on day two he
attends class with the educator. Both staff complement each other in the
common goal to help the child attain his or hers developmental milestones.
Each professional has their own defined role: the teacher works with the
ministry's curriculum and the educator teaches through play-based activities.
The model that we have implemented in the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
region is proof that a partnership between the two professionals can be
successful and rewarding for all involved.
Directrice générale- Executive director
Centre de ressources familiales de l'Estrie
1500 boulevard Holy Cross
Le CRFE est fier d'être le plus gros pourvoyeur des services de garde
francophones en Ontario.
Finally, this blog post contains another correspondent's views: