Week of Action October 18-22

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This year's Week of Action will feature many exciting community building and advocacy activities!

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Monday Oct 18: Nominate an ECE Hero

Who is YOUR child care hero? Nominate an ECE or child care worker hero for a chance to win prizes for them and yourself!
The AECEO and OCBCC are partnering to recognize and celebrate our child care heroes for Early Childhood Educator and Child Care Worker Appreciation Day on October 21st.
Child care heroes are plentiful in the sector and this year, we invite you to share your experiences of these real life heroes. Please tell us what makes them a hero to you, whether it be providing moral support, being flexible with programming, or a special talent that brings strength to everyone around them, we want to hear about their impact.

*Winners will be selected at random (5 nominees, 5 nominators) to receive $50 gift cards and announced on October 22nd.

Nomination Form

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Tuesday Oct 19: Heroes Rising Up Virtual Rally and Action 7-8:30 pm

Join educators, advocates and allies for an evening to celebrate ECE heroes! We will hear and share stories from ECE's, celebrate and show our gratitude for the work of ECEs in the last year, and participate in a phone zap together to press for positive change for our sector! All Rally attendees will be entered in a door prize draw for Appreciation Prizes!

Registration

Phone Zap Script  (can be used anytime to phone zap your representative)


Wednesday Oct 20: Email your MPP

Email your Member of Provincial Parliament to call on them to support a national child care agreement and the AECEO/OCBCC Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario. Find your MPP here, and their email address here.

Copy and paste the email letter template into your own document.


Thursday Oct 21: Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day!!

Visit the OCBCC's website for downloadable Appreciation Certificates, tips for celebrating the day, pdf versions of the poster and social media shareables.


Friday October 22: Prize draws for ECE Hero winners!

(See Monday's action)

5 nominees and 5 nominators will each receive $50 gift cards drawn at random and announced on October 22nd!

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National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Today the AECEO is acknowledging and honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day by committing time throughout the day to learning, unlearning, and critically examining our own work to continue to be better allies and take action on Truth and Reconciliation. We are grateful for the guidance of many Indigenous organizations on how to spend the day in a good way. As educators, we must hear the truth of the experiences of Survivors, it is our responsibility to learn the history of our country and education system. In our pedagogical work with young children and families we must work to disrupt the consequences of that history and of ongoing colonialism and systemic injustice.

We invite you to explore these resources as you consider how to spend your time and take action towards Truth and Reconciliation:

Visit the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society to view resources and action ideas. Their film, Spirit Bear and Children Make History, is being offered for free from September 27-October 1st, 2021.

Visit the Orange Shirt Day website. Learn about the history of the day, Phyllis’s story, and access some resources to help you honour the day with children.

If you haven’t yet, read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. As you read the Calls to Action, reflect on where you can take action as an ECE and community member.

Take time to listen to the stories of Survivors. You can read their stories in The Survivors Speak, A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

You can also visit the Downie Wenjack Foundation to read more about their online discussion and resources to support you in honouring the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day.

And finally, we welcome you to read eceLINK articles that were contributed by the AECEO Guiding Committee on Truth and Reconciliation.
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Imagine Universal Child Care for All

This amazing new video collaboration from CUPE Ontario, CRRU, AECEO, OCBCC and St. Stephen's Community House child care helps us all imagine what is possible with Universal child care in an Ontario.
The video lets us see what universal child care could look like in Ontario. With parent fees significantly reduced so that all families can afford quality early learning and child care; a workforce strategy that improves working conditions for ECEs, and respects all workers in child care and early learning; and a plan to expand not-for-profit child care space and availability.
The need for quality, affordable, not-for-profit, and accessible early learning and child care has never been more pressing, and it IS possible!
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Building Leadership and Learning Communities

We are very excited to announce that we have been awarded a new 3 year project entitled Building Leadership and Learning Communities

This project aims to connect, support and empower Early Childhood Educators in Ontario through Communities of Practice: active local networks where ECEs can share their challenges and strengths, create peer and mentorship relationships, and engage in professional learning and advocacy. We will work to develop and support six new Communities of Practice and implement a new professional learning model to reach more educators across the province. Through our Communities of Practice and professional learning experiences, we will strive to support ECEs’ sense of belonging, well-being, professionalism, leadership capacity, pedagogy and practice with children and families.

In order to implement this project we are recruiting new team members for the following positions:

Project Coordinator

Professional Learning Coordinator

Community Organizer

As part of our ongoing learning and commitment to working within an anti-racist and anti-oppressive framework, the AECEO has committed to the following Anti-racist hiring practices:

  • Public commitment to anti-racist hiring practice in job postings
  • Share job postings on diverse job boards/through networks
  • Create standardized interview questions
  • No social media screening of applicants/candidates
  • Diversity in hiring committee
  • Commitment from hiring committee members to anti-bias and anti-racist hiring

If you have any questions about our hiring process, please contact [email protected].

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Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario

Roadmap___Toolkit_Launch.pngIn its 2021 budget the Government of Canada announced it was establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system and said "The federal government will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of quality child care."  

On July 8th the Governments of Canada and British Columbia announced the first early learning and child care agreeement under this plan.

After thorough consultation with the Child Care and Early Years community, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario have developed a Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario - toward our vision of what a Canada-wide child care system can and must be in Ontario. The Roadmap includes 20 key policy interventions to achieving universal child care in Ontario. We know this is the beginning of a journey and we want to continue to hear from you. The Roadmap contains Discussion Questions and a feedback mechanism, as well as an invitation to highlight your program and contribute Policy Briefs as we continue this collective work.  

We know Ontario’s child care sector and allies are ready to advocate for a Canada-wide child care system! To support this and show our collective ECEPower we have created a Toolkit of fun activities to communicate with and engage children, parents/families and their networks on the Roadmap. This Toolkit of "Take Action Tuesday" activities is designed to align with the important work you are doing with young children and to highlight the skills that you already have in organizing.

This campaign is important because we have an opportunity to steer the future course of child care in Ontario and across our nation. We can impact the decisions made by joining our communities together and letting our voices ring out for universal child care! This is an exciting time - the promise of a national child care plan gives us much to celebrate!

Click HERE to see the presentation of the Roadmap and Toolkit at the Take Action Together: Community Connections webinar held on July 8th.

Download the Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario

Share your feedback on the Roadmap here: https://www.childcareontario.org/roadmap_feedback

The full Toolkit, including activity calendar and downloadable templates, is available on the OCBCC website:  https://www.childcareontario.org/roadmap_action_toolkit

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Take Action Together: Community Connections

Tool_kit_launch__(1).pngJoin us this Thursday, July 8th from 7-8:30pm for our next webinar on child care advocacy in Ontario: Take Action Together: Community Connections. We will start with an update on our Road Map and review our vision of what a Canada-wide child care system can do for Ontario. We will walk through our Summer Advocacy Tool-Kit and talk about the power of collective action. Then we will move into regional break out rooms hosted by local advocates to connect, think, organize, and plan together. There will be time for Q and A's. Looking forward to seeing you there! 

 

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Webinar: Next Steps for Child Care Advocacy in Ontario

June_15_webinar.jpgMany thanks to everyone who was able to join the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care for the webinar about what’s next for child care advocacy in Ontario. For those who were unable to join, the slides and audio of the webinar are available below. We regret that due to technical issues the video of the webinar is not postable/shareable. Our apologies for any inconvenience. Link to Webinar slides Link to Webinar audio

Please help shape the next steps by submitting your ideas at the "Mentimeter" links below:

What would a Canada-wide child care system mean to you?: https://www.menti.com/z644sqr3h3

What do you want to see in an Ontario child care system?: https://www.menti.com/ffdhycbyy

What kind of actions/activities do YOU want to do?: https://www.menti.com/859mn9wdkm

Sign up here for the Roadmap and Toolkit Launch!

https://www.childcareontario.org/roadmap_toolkit_launch

Next Webinar - Take Action Together: Community Conversations

We were so excited by the energy on the "Next Steps" webinar and recognize there was not an opportunity to for dialogue, questions and connecting in a small group. We want to make that possible, so we invite you to join us for Take Action Together: Community Conversations on Thursday, July 8th from 7:00 – 8:30pm. In this virtual meeting we will review the advocacy tool-kit together, connect in small, regional break outs, and think about how we can take action together. Looking forward to seeing you there, and don’t forget to invite a friend! :

Registration: Take Action Together: Community Connections

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New Survey: The Early Childhood Educators' Well-being Survey

This new survey is part of an international effort to capture the voices of early childhood educators and child care workers/providers and better understand how Covid has impacted their well-being. It presents a unique opportunity for your experiences to contribute to advancing the well-being of the workforce in Canada, and internationally. 

In Canada, the data will be used by researcher Dr Brooke Richardson (Brock University), in collaboration with the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, to inform community-based projects, presentations and ongoing work asserting the value of the profession and advocating for decent working conditions and professional wages. Data from this study will also be used to inform a larger national study of educator well-being in Australia, and possibly in comparisons with data from larger studies. In addition, data from the project may be reported in journal articles and/or other presentations.  

Please note, this survey takes 35-40 minutes to complete and must be completed in one sitting. 

The Early Childhood Educators’ Well-being Survey can be found herehttps://www.research.net/r/ECEC_Canada

Link to post-survey reflection form

We hosted a webinar about this international research project, why your participation is so important, and how your experiences will influence our advocacy and work:

       Link to Webinar Recording


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One Child is One Too Many

Today we took time to reflect and pause in honour of the lives of the 215 Indigenous children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. We affirm our commitment to working to ensure that every child matters in every generation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children. This is not just history. There are more Indigenous children in state care today than at the height of the residential school system. There are 53 long-term drinking water advisories in in Canada. The Federal Government continues to challenge the survivors of St Anne’s Residential School in court on reopening compensation cases. In early childhood education, and as educators, we have a responsibility to bring these present truths to light, to ensure that the histories of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people are not only taught as curriculum content, but that their ways of being and knowing are valued and honoured. We must ensure our own work does not reproduce old narratives that cause harm, and that our work and pedagogy disrupt and do better.

Reconciliation in statements, in sentiment, is not enough. There must be action that disrupts ongoing colonial practices that continue to cause harm, silence, and disrupt generations of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. We must follow the lead of the Indigenous community and work collectively to do better in memory of the children, families and communities.

One child is one too many.

For those needing support: https://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/indian-residential-school-support-program

We suggest donating to support the work of the following organizations or an organization of your choice:

Indian Residential School Survivors Society in BC: https://www.irsss.ca/donate

The Orange Shirt Society: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/donations.html

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society: https://fncaringsociety.com/donate

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Survey Report: Forgotten on the Frontline

Screen_Shot_2021-05-18_at_10.59.57_PM.png The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Ontario’s early years and child care sector. From temporary closure, developing  emergency child care for essential service workers, implementing new health and safety procedures, Early Childhood Educators and child care workers have been vitally important to keeping our communities safe and supported. But little is known about the impact of the pandemic on the workforce itself, how it has changed their work life and their well-being. 

In an effort to learn what current challenges are facing the workforce, the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care carried out a survey of Ontario’s early years and child care workforce between February 17th and March 1, 2021, with questions exploring current working conditions, mental health and well-being, as well as perspectives on vaccination.

This report presents highlights of the survey findings along with direct quotes from respondents describing their experiences and perspectives. We then present “Stories from the Frontline”, in which we draw out themes that emerged through qualitative analysis of the respondents’ comments. Finally, we present conclusions and recommendations for government.

To read the Survey Report, click here.

To read the Summary, click here.

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May 14th Ontario Youth in Care Day

The words of AECEO President Dr Brooke Richardson, Irwin Elman, and Cheyanne Ratnam, Co-Founder, CEO & President, Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, on this May 14, Ontario Children and Youth in Care Day:    Youth in Care Day

Today May 14 is Ontario’s Youth in Care Day which honours all young people across Ontario in and from the child welfare system. Today we acknowledge their strength and courage as they face the challenges the circumstances that brought them into care and the experiences caused by the often trauma inducing system the Province has created to “care” for them

Today the biggest danger for children, youth and families who encounter the child welfare system, in fact for many of us , is that when COVID is over things will go back to normal. Normal was never and still is not, good enough for young people in the legal guardianship of the state (in “care”). The outcomes of “normal”, our systems attempts to care for children, was too often homelessness, poverty, prison, and sometimes even death.

Today governments continue to define “success” as financial, physical and emotional independence. In fact, this now appears to be an untouchable universal truth. At the subjective and state level, we drank the rugged individualism KoolAid internalizing the idea that to be (inter)dependent or needy is to be weak, small and broken. Along these lines, the modus operandi of state structures is to reward those who don’t need and vilify (and too often criminalize) those who do – particularly equity seeking groups including young people and alumni from the child welfare system.

A tunnel vision and focus by government on fiscal “efficiencies”, economic bottom lines and getting ahead (at the individual, institutional and political levels) have made the conditions in which good care can exist impossible. In fact, we throw around the word “care” like it means something: “long-term care”, “healthcare”, “childcare”, “daycare”, “health care”, “kids in [state] care”.

As a young person from within the system once said: “good care in the child welfare system is a matter of good fortune rather than good planning”. Young people often feel as though they are in the backseat in the car of their life, powerless to determine their journey. Once they legally become an adult (an arbitrary age determined by legal systems) they are thrown the keys never learning to drive – in a car with no gas, a flat tire and a sputtering engine.

So what is good care? Good care positions young people in the driver seat, thoughtfully deliberates policies and resource provisions while grappling with the intersecting needs of peoples in complex ethical and material situations.

But perhaps the biggest missing resource when it comes to the child welfare system is time: the time to build the conditions where young people experience respectful, supportive, equitable relationships with themselves and their respective and interconnecting communities. As a privileged province and country, it is OUR responsibility (through government leadership, institutions and policies) to ensure that every young person who intersects with the child welfare system participates in their care as fully as possible. This cannot take place until there is a government and institutional shift in culture. The end of rugged individualism, not to be replaced by a “saviour framework”, must come.

This is our call to action. We, along with a growing community of young people, scholars and activists offer another way: “a caring democracy”. A caring democracy exists where “…the purpose of economic life is to support care – not the other way around”. The pandemic has revealed the dangers of prioritizing the economy at the expense of care. A caring democracy cannot exist without the meaningful, active and ongoing participation of equity-seeking lived experts – particularly in decision-making processes.

Youth in Care Day is the opportune time to begin building a caring democracy. Children in “care” are the only group that the government, on behalf of all of us, is legally required to care for. We are failing them. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Today, in Ontario, we have the opportunity to follow the leadership of young people in and from care (First Voice Advocates) who have struggled their way to a place at the table. We ask you to join us, as allies, in the making of a new normal.

Replace your language that places the care of yourself, others and your community ahead of the well being of the economy. Demand that your leaders do the same.

Part of developing a new normal is building capacity together in child welfare. Learn about the issues faced by young people in and from the child welfare system not issues faced by the system. Tune in live on Facebook through the Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition for Ontario’s Provincial Day of Learning, #Five14Futures May 14th at 11:45am.

Check out a broader grassroots care campaign to prioritize care across sectors in the next provincial election.

Dr. Brooke Richardson

Care scholar and activist

Irwin Elman

Cheyanne Ratnam,

Co-Founder, CEO & President, Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition

 

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eceLINK Spring 2021 - Now available online

In this issue:

  • AECEO Statement on Child Protection and the Role of ECEs in Ontario     eceLINK_Spring_2021web-page-001.jpg
  • Sharing the Experiences of Indigenous Educators and Communities During COVID-19
  • Decent Work Project Update
  • The Peer Reviewed Collection:
    • An Outcome Evaluation of a Professional Development Opportunity Focusing on Sexuality Education for Early Learning Professionals
    • ECEs Early Experiences in Full-Day Kindergarten: "They Just Weren't Ready for Us!"
    • How Early Years Professionals can Inform an Early Years Policy Framework Prototype
  • 2021-2022 AECEO Provincial Board Nominations form
  • Members' Motion Guidelines/Form

We would like to thank the following advertisers for helping to support this issue of the eceLINK:

ECE Qualifications Upgrade Program

Johnson Insurance

Read_more_button.png (AECEO Member Access)

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The child care community wins vaccine priority

Today (April 27th) the Ministry of Health announced that all early childhood educators and child care workers in licensed settings can book their vaccine beginning Thursday, April 29th, through the provincial portal.
Together, we fought hard to be heard. The AECEO and OCBCC open letter had over 12000 signatures, supported by the work of the TCBCC and the child care community, we saw thousands of emails from ECEs and child care workers, operators and parents, and the story was in the news for weeks, where ECEs and child care workers shared their story. Change is possible when we come together and raise our collective voice. You fought for this, you earned this. Your work and your well-being matter.
"Keeping childcare open is critical to the mental health and well-being of children and in supporting working parents in Ontario. Effective Thursday, April 29, 2021, child care workers in licensed child care settings will be eligible to book an appointment through the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900 or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. Eligible workers in licensed child care settings will receive a letter from their employer. This letter must be available at the point of booking and taken to the vaccination appointment. In the coming weeks, eligibility will be expanded to child care workers in unlicensed child care settings across the province."
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Community Care Wellness Check-In

The AECEO, TCBCC and OCBCC invite you to participate in a Community Care Wellness Check-In, facilitated by child and family therapist Helen Hargreaves. This session will be an opportunity for all early years workers and community members to spend time focusing on their own emotions and needs, to share and be heard, and to hold space for each other. This session will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 28th April at 7:00pm. Please join us by registering here:
Helen Hargreaves
 

Helen works as a child and family therapist and is a dedicated activist. She believes that equity and accessibility in mental healthcare is paramount and strives to create a system with fewer barriers. During this pandemic Helen has sought to better understand the barriers that exist for neurodivergent folks using new formats, such as Zoom, to make online spaces more accessible.

Helen is actively engaged in educating children about queer rights and fighting for the rights of queer families. She is passionate about supporting neurodivergent Trans and gender creative children.

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Vaccinate ECEs and child care workers

Prioritizing ECEs and child care providers for voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations makes sense - not only will it protect them, but children, families and our communities as well.

Vaccinate_ECEs_and_child_care_workers_now.jpgWe are calling on the Ontario Government to: 

  • Immediately offer vaccination to all staff and providers working in early years, child care settings and schools;
  • Increase funding to ensure the safety and well-being of educators, children and families;
  • Prevent the further loss of early years and child care programs;
  • Ensure transparent communication and collaboration with the sector.

One simple thing you can do to help amplify the calls for ECEs, child care workers and providers to receive the vaccine immediately is sign on to our Protect and Respect Open Letter here: Protect and Respect ECE

We have also seen amazing local advocacy to City Councils and local Public Health Units on accelerating the vaccine for the early childhood workforce, as in the City of Toronto where a motion was passed from the Board of Health to request the Province immediately vaccinate ECEs, child care workers and providers. We encourage you to send a letter to your local representatives. Please find below a letter template (graciously shared by the Toronto Community for Better Child Care) and a list of contact information for Ontario Mayors.

Letter Template

List of Mayors

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2021 Ontario Budget released

The AECEO is deeply disappointed in the 2021 Ontario Budget, which includes no increase in funding or supports for Early Childhood Educators, early years staff, and the early years sector. We know that COVID has exacerbated the lack of decent work and professional pay, deeply impacted educators’ pedagogical work, stress, mental health and well-being, and threatened the sustainability of many programs. We have been consistent and persistent in our advocacy, raising the voice of Early Childhood Educators and early years staff directly to the Ministry of Education. It is your experiences and stories that make undeniably clear the impact of policy and funding decisions on educators' well-being, pedagogy and practice and the experiences and well-being of children and families. We will continue to bring your voices to decision-makers and advocate together for the change we know this sector needs.  

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Province-Wide Conversation with Kindergarten ECEs

The AECEO invites you to join kindergarten educators from across the province for the next in our ongoing series ofMar_23.png Kindergarten Conversations on Tuesday March 23rd at 7:00PM.
Let's come together once again to connect and share our experiences, concerns and knowledge - and talk about how we can move forward together.

Register to join the conversation here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUuf-qtpjsuE9PzKOkZjLZHlRwpURIV6iOY

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Government of Canada Child Care Workforce Study

The Social Research Division of Employment and Social Development Canada (Government of Canada) is currently conducting a qualitative research project on workforce experiences impacting recruitment and retention in licensed child care. Results from this study will inform the development of a Canada-wide workforce strategy for early childhood education. 

They are looking for participants who are working with children younger than 6 years old in licenced child care, in specific regions:

1) City of Toronto (download the English poster or download the French poster)

2) Small towns and rural areas in the counties of Nipissing/Timiskaming, Sudbury/ Manitoulin/Parry Sound, Algoma or Cochrane (download the French poster or download the English poster)

Please note that this study is based on the location where you work, rather than where you live and they have asked that when responding you specify the city in which you are working.

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Call for Submissions-eceLINK Peer Reviewed Collection

Issue: Fall 2021

 

Special issue: Post pandemic possibilities: Exploring new ideas and spaces in ECEC emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered and continues to alter ECEC in Ontario. In times of uncertainty, desperation and fear there is an understandable longing to get back to “normal”. This call asks how the pandemic may have prompted new thinking about the pre-pandemic status quo in ECEC at the program and policy level. Some topics/questions that could be explored include:

  • How have the dominant ideas about the purpose, value and scope of ECEC been challenged and/or reinforced throughout the pandemic?
  • How has the pandemic challenged the public/private (market-state-family) positioning of ECEC at the policy level in Ontario and/or Canada?
  • What can we learn from the varied responses of ECEC professionals to the pandemic as we continue to move through it and beyond?
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic provided new ways of thinking or doing pedagogy in ECEC in Ontario?

Relevant to all of these questions is how new ideas or ways of thinking emerging out of the pandemic are having an impact on children, families and educators involved in ECEC programs and policies in Ontario.  

Submission deadline:  June 1, 2021

Download a PDF copy of the full Call for Submissions

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Early Years and Child Care Sector Flash Survey

The AECEO and OCBCC have been working to bring forward issues facing the Early Childhood Educators, staff, parents and families to the provincial and federal governments. To support our efforts, we've created a quick survey to better understand how Covid-19 is currently impacting the ELCC sector and to inform our advocacy to the Ontario and Federal governments on behalf of the ELCC sector.

To help us in this work, we ask you to please take 10 minutes to share your thoughts with us. Please also share widely in your networks. Our advocacy is better and stronger when we are united. Your voice and your needs matter to us, and they should be heard by decision makers.      
Please click HERE to take the survey.

Update on Phase 2 of Ontario's vaccine rollout

We've heard from many of you with questions about where the early years workforce fits in Ontario’s vaccine roll-out. We have been advocating for the early years workforce to be included, along with other critically important workers, in Phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out. At this time, we have had the following message from the Ontario Ministry of Education: “While there are many variables associated with immunization planning, such as vaccine supply and timing, work to-date has included child care workers as part of Phase Two of the government’s vaccine implementation plan”.

While this is a hopeful message, we are going to continue our advocacy until the inclusion of the early years workforce is concretely confirmed and to ensure that the roll-out plan best meets the needs of educators across the Province.
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