By Dr. Rachel Langford, RECE, AECEO President (2012-2014)
The AECEO’s success in establishing a regulatory college for Ontario early childhood educators and creating a legislated professional credential for ECEs was a fundamental achievement in our mission to improve compensation and career opportunities for all early childhood educators in the province. Now, with the Ministry of Education’s focus on modernizing Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Ontario, the time is right to initiate the next steps in resolving these long-standing issues.
The recent “You Bet We Still Care” report substantiated the need for better wages for ECE professionals if we are ever to tackle the issue of recruitment and retention. Yet there are many challenges ahead and varying opinions on what, and how, the issue of professional pay for ECEs should be addressed.
When the AECEO board decided to focus its advocacy work on Professional Pay for Professional Work, we knew that we would face many challenges. Some of these challenges might be called distractions.
In the case of claims for Professional Pay for Professional Work and a drive towards realizing this goal we will be challenged by both distractions and possibly driven to distraction by some roadblocks.
We have identified three distractions that many of us have been vulnerable to and some of which AECEO board members have discussed. Some of these distractions may be hard to hear but it is important to put them on the table for discussion.
“I’m More Than ‘Just’ an ECE”: Decent Work from the Perspective of Ontario’s Early Childhood Workforce
In 2016 we completed eight mobilization forums across Ontario, stopping in Sault Ste. Marie, Scarborough, Whitby, Mississauga, Waterloo, Brantford, Kingston and Sudbury and met with over 200 ECEs and early years staff. The forums aimed to increase dialogue and broaden understandings of decent work in the early childhood sector while also documenting the unique HR needs and challenges of the early childhood workforce in Ontario.
We are proud to share our final report, “I’m More Than ‘Just’ an ECE”: Decent Work from the Perspective of Ontario’s Early Childhood Workforce
Last September during our Provincial conference in Ottawa, our coordinator Lyndsay Macdonald talks about how we can strengthen our collective voice to call for professional pay and decent work!
We are partnering with long-time child and family advocate Olivia Chow and the Institute for Change Leaders to offer province-wide training sessions with the aim of connecting ECEs and early years staff with parents and engaged community members to strengthen our campaign for Professional Pay & Decent Work in early years and child care.
This 2 day training session is an excellent opportunity for those working or studying in the early years and child care sector who are interested in taking up an active role in their communities and in our Professional Pay campaign. Participants will gain the skills and confidence to engage others, to become leaders in their work or school environments and to champion positive change in our sector.
The curriculum teaches emerging leaders how to:
- Gain self confidence to tell your story/speak your mind to motivate others
- Recruit and retain members of your community/program to work towards a common goal
- Build strong Communities of Practice (CoP) that foster leadership among ECEs, staff and parents
- Strategize in a CoP setting and utilize tactics that build power and move decision makers
- Have a strong social media presence
Participants will take away skills and knowledge that can be used to organize Communities of Practice (CoP) and promote leadership among teams in a variety of early years settings.
A very limited amount of free registrations are available to students currently enrolled in an ECE diploma or degree program. Please go to the registration page for more information.
Lunch & refreshments will be provided for the 2 day session.
Professional Learning certificates will also be provided to participants.