As the provincial government expands early learning and child care services and has committed to increased access, opportunities are opening up for future registered early childhood educators (RECEs) and those seeking to upgrade their credentials with a diploma so that they may become registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators in order to fill new positions or start their own businesses as providers of licensed early learning and child care services.
Lois Mahon, Cambrian College professor and past President of the College of Early Childhood Educators, expects job growth and opportunities for more flexible, diverse, and innovative child care services. “In the Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care bi-lateral agreement announcement made June 16, the provincial and federal governments committed to an investment of $7.5-billion over the next 11 years,” Mahon explained. “There will be new positions created in licensed agencies, organizations, schools, First Nations Educational Authorities, and community-based family support programs everywhere in Ontario. This will improve access to quality, licensed child care, and create jobs.”
Earlier in June, the province shared its Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework (2017), which outlines its commitment and steps towards creating a universally accessible child care system. Over the next five years, the Ontario government plans to increase access to licensed early learning and child care services for an additional 100,000 children (from infancy to age 4), which doubles the capacity for this age range. This will create new positions for RECEs.
On June 26, grant applications will become available through the Early Childhood Educators Qualifications Upgrade Program. Those who qualify will receive funding to pay for tuition, books, and travel. Cambrian College offers the only Early Childhood Education — Alternate Delivery program in Ontario, which enables those currently working in early learning and child care settings to continue their employment while completing their education online.
Cambrian also offers a two-year Early Childhood Education diploma program for students who wish to study in a traditional setting and take advantage of the College’s facilities and on-campus services. After completion of either of these programs, graduates may apply to become RECEs.
Cambrian College’s Early Childhood Education — Alternate Delivery program offers those who are working in the field to study full-time (allowing them to maximize access to education grants) while earning their diploma. The program requires students to practice, observe, and evaluate what they’re doing “on the job” as part of their studies. The online learning modules enable students to remain in their community and to continue their employment. Students join their professors and classmates in person at Cambrian College in Sudbury for brief residencies in the fall and winter semesters. Details about both programs and services for students at Cambrian are available at www.cambriancollege.ca.
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