Co constructed by Shani Halfon, RECE & Melanie Dixon, RECE
eceLINK Summer 2015

Professional learning is an integral part of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) landscape. Decades of research have identified that the learning and ongoing professional learning of early childhood educators and staff is a critical element in the provision of high quality ECEC. As regulated professionals, registered early childhood educators also have ethical and professional responsibilities to enhance their practice and gain new skills and knowledge to cope with the ever changing needs of children and families. In the context of Ontario’s ongoing agenda to ‘modernize’ child care and the broader ECEC sector, increased attention has been devoted to the professional learning of the ECEC workforce resulting in significant changes in this area.

In times of such immense change it is important to stop and take stock of what is happening, where we have come from and where we would like to be. This article aims to begin to map out the changing landscape of professional learning for ECEs in Ontario in order to assess the ‘state of’ professional learning and identify outstanding issues or questions. A brief look back at the history of professional learning and ECEs will provide some of the context for evaluating a number of structural changes that have taken place to support a more formalized professional learning infrastructure in ECEC. An overview of current developments in Ontario will highlight the significant changes impacting the professional learning landscape and a review of what we know about how professional learning is being organized, supported and delivered across Ontario is included. Further questions for research, policy and practitioners will be presented in the conclusion.

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This article has been extracted from our eceLINK Summer 2015 issue available to AECEO Members


Risky outdoor play positively impacts children’s health: UBC study

The University of British Columbia - June 7, 2015

New research from UBC and the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital shows that risky outdoor play is not only good for children’s health but also encourages creativity, social skills and resilience.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that children who participated in physical activity such as climbing and jumping, rough and tumble play and exploring alone, displayed greater physical and social health.




Why Child Care Needs More Men

The Northern Echo, UK - June 17, 2015

Only two per cent of early years childcare workers are male. Lisa Salmon talks to the Fatherhood Institute about their drive to get more men into the industry

MOST men would love to be “a hero every day”. That’s the way working as a male childcarer has been described by men themselves, but there are still only a handful of males working in the field.

Despite years of progress towards greater gender balance in many professions, the early years education and childcare workforce remains stubbornly dominated by female staff – the latest figures show that only two per cent are male.

Read more..



ParticipACTION Report Card

Active Healthy Kids Canada developed the first Report Card in 2005 with the goal to power the movement to get kids moving. Over the last 10 years, more than 80,000 individuals and organizations have used the Report Card to advocate for and devise solutions to enhance physical activity opportunities for children and youth.

In 2014, Active Healthy Kids Canada began winding down its operations and the leadership of the Report Card was assumed by ParticipACTION, a long-term strategic partner. Read the press release.

ParticipACTION will continue to work with its strategic research partner, the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (HALO-CHEO), to deliver the much anticipated comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada.

2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Kids - ParticipACTION

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International Mud Day 2015

International Mud Day is children and early childhood professionals – and anyone else – all over the world celebrating nature, outdoors, and mess by getting really muddy. You can participate wherever you happen to be on June 29! Join children and adults across the globe on this day of celebration to grow awareness and honor the goodness of life experienced when children connect with nature.

More Information



From Protection to Resilience

ECCDC Event - May 13, 2015

Why do educators need to take a balanced approach to risk, and what does it look like?

Across the world, adults are becoming ever more anxious about children’s safety and well-being.  Read more...Paradoxically, these anxieties can end up harming children’s learning and development, fuelling unnecessary fears and undermining trust and confidence in ourselves and our children. How can those of us who work with children take a balanced, thoughtful approach to risk; one that honours and values children’s play, their freedom of movement, and, most importantly, the relationships they have with each other and with adults?  Tim’s talk, based on his influential book No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society, will help educators and service providers to revisit their thinking; to strike a better balance between protecting children from genuine threats and giving them rich, challenging opportunities to learn and grow.

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Joint Statement for Equal Pay Day – April 20, 2015
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Canadian Resource and Research Unit

Child care has long been acknowledged as a necessary component in closing the gender wage gap in two important ways. First, the lack of affordable, high quality child care continues to limit women’s opportunities to participate in on-going, full-time work. Second, child care is still a firmly entrenched ‘female job ghetto’ in which the predominately female workforce continues to be underpaid and undervalued.  

Read Full Joint Statement for Equal Pay Day

eceLINK Spring 2015 Now Available ONLINE

Spring_2015_final_web_1.jpgIn this Issue:

  • PIECEMEAL SOLUTIONS GET PIECEMEAL RESULTS: Addressing wages in regulated child care in Ontario
  • LEARNING AND LEADING TOGETHER: Reflections on leadership and continuous professional learning
  • CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL LEARNING: Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook as Professional Learning Tools

Please note* This content is available to AECEO Members only

Become a Member Today

Re-Vamp of Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development

bg-homeband.jpgOn March 10, 2015, the Centre for Excellence for Early Childhood Development announced the re-vamp of the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. This online encyclopedia is targeted to service providers and policy makers with evidence-based information on 51 topics on early childhood development from conception to age 5.

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Academics speak out for early education in Canada

Date & Time:  Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Location: University of Toronto, OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, 12 Floor Nexus Lounge, Toronto, Ontario

Canada's leading scholars unveil the evidence for public investments in early childhood education and launch a new pan-Canadian network bringing together academics, stakeholders and grant makers involved in research and in the application/mobilization of research findings.  

The initiative is led by Dr. Jennifer Jenkins, Director of the Atkinson Centre and the Academic Director at the Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development at the University of Toronto and Dr. Michel Boivin the Canada Research Chair in Child Social Development and a professor of Psychology at Université Laval

Sponsored by the International Network for Early Childhood Knowledge Mobilization (INECK) and the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child

more info

Vote Child Care 2015

Vote Child Care 2015 brings together child care advocates and supporters from across Canada to promote the vision endorsed at the ChildCare2020 conference.



Affordable child care: The $7-a-day question

Affordable child care has allowed more people to return to work and increased tax revenue. So why is it only available in Quebec?

Affordable child care: The $7-a-day question

One more year without a national child care program

Schools at the Centre Study

Atkinson Centre

The Schools at the Centre study explores the impact of full day kindergarten and extended hours programming on educators, families and early years administrators in three Ontario regions. By exploring the processes and partnerships developed between school boards, regional governments and community organizations the researchers were able to uncover lessons to inform policy and practice. The aim of the study is to strengthen child and family centred services in communities.

Does play-based kindergarten help children academically?

OISE - Jenny Hall

When the kids in a kindergarten class that OISE professor Angela Pyle was observing recently decided to set up a bank, she paid close attention. The idea came from a combination of things: The teacher had been teaching the group directly about money, and the mother of one of the students had recently started working at a bank. After some discussion with the teacher, the kids launched “The Money Bank.” The teacher asked the children what resources they needed and, after providing them, stepped away.

“The children started making signs,” says Pyle. “They posted the hours of operation. They made name tags. One of the kids made a chart listing the different coins and their value for kids who didn’t know.”

Let ‘Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play In Kindergarten

Holly Korbey 

For the typical American kindergartner, unstructured free play during the school day consists of 20 to 30 minutes of recess, and perhaps some time at indoor “stations” — perhaps creating with building blocks, costumes, or musical instruments. But what if there was more? What if the answer to “what did you do in school today?” was, “I climbed a tree, played in the mud, built a fire”?

That is exactly the kind of learning going on in the Swiss Waldkindergartens, or forest kindergartens, where children ages four to seven spend all of their school days playing outdoors, no matter the weather. With no explicit math or literacy taught until first grade, the Swiss have no set goals for kindergartners beyond a few measurements, like using scissors and writing one’s own name. They instead have chosen to focus on the social interaction and emotional well-being found in free play.

Read more....

Male preschool teachers in short supply - New Zealand  - January 13, 2015

In a profession where men are increasingly rare at all levels, they are some of the 2 per cent of men teaching in New Zealand's preschools, according to the Ministry of Education.

Figures released earlier this month show the number of male teachers has continued to drop during the past 10 years. In 2013, men made up 41.2 per cent of teachers at secondary schools and only 16.5 per cent at primary schools.


Canada's Child Care Workforce

Shani Halfon, October 2014

This brief summarizes what is known about the childcare workforce in Canada, the implications of this for regulated childcare, and identifies some considerations and strategies to address the ongoing issues and improve the overall state of ECEC. A summary of the relevant research and data leads to the conclusion that a coordinated and comprehensive strategy is needed to address the multiple and interconnected variables that impact the working conditions of those in the childcare workforce.

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The woman pushing for better care for Ontario children

By:  Toronto Star - Dec 28 2014

Imagine a big city daycare with a goat, a sheep and a flock of chickens. Real ones.

When Carolyn Ferns happened upon the children and their child-care teacher taking the goat for a walk, she knew anything was possible.

“I thought, what is this? This is fantastic,” recalls Ferns of the extraordinary scene in the Swedish city of Lund, where she was taking a university gap year in the early 2000s.

Ferns thinks about that daycare often in her new role as head of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, the voice of non-profit, affordable child care in the province.

Read more at Toronto Star

ACCESSIBLE OUTDOORS: Kids with Social, Emotional and Physical Disabilities Go Outside!

By Kathy Ambrosini on December 27th, 2014


Children and Nature Network
Accessible nature outings are all around us, there for the taking, for the children who stand to benefit from them the most.

Whether you’re sharing the outdoors with an individual, family, social or school group, it’s exciting to watch these kids develop new coping strategies and shake loose the grip of their symptoms while they enjoy, explore, play and connect in nature.