Walking in Place: Cultivating Ecological Identity in Young Children -- and in Ourselves

An invitation to early years educators to be outdoors in their bodies and in the body of the Earth

By Diane Kashin

The York Region Nature Collaborative (YRNC) is a new organization dedicated to enhancing experiences for children to learn in nature and to develop an ecological identity. We are grateful for the sponsorship of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority http://www.trca.on.ca/ in providing us with the venues that support learning in nature for young children, families and educators. We launched our first event “A Family Adventure Walk in the Forest” in October 2014 and with over 200 children and their families we celebrated nature through play and inquiry at the beautiful Kortright Conservation Centre http://kortright.org/. Inspired by the day and the desire to offer more events for free for children and their families, we are planning a conference for educators – May 23rd, 2015 with the renowned author and early childhood educator, Ann Pelo.



Early Childhood Australia

The three videos in this collection highlight and showcase selected examples of significant learning in the birth-to-three-years period. The aim is to make babies’ and toddlers’ learning visible and, by doing so, to expand awareness and appreciation of it. As a result, professionals will look more closely, reflect on what babies’ and toddlers’ behaviour means, adopt an image of babies and toddlers as capable and competent learners, and enact this image in their work.

Download the information booklet to read more.

Click here to visit Early Childhood Australia and view videos

We’re ruining our kids with Minecraft: The case for unstructured play

We are in the process of making a giant mistake on behalf of our children.  With all the right intentions, American parents are depriving their kids of the time and space to develop their imaginations, and the ability to make something out of nothing—the very heart of innovation and competitiveness. A new study by Radio Flyer and ReD Associates shows the alarming consequences of over-parenting. With the holiday season upon us, parents face a familiar dilemma: which toys will capture our kids’ imaginations, stoke their interests, and keep them endlessly entertained? Think twice before you put that box of wooden blocks in your shopping cart.

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Concerns rise about future of daycares in federal buildings

Some Ottawa daycares struggle to balance books after rent subsidy cut

Several Ottawa daycare centres operating out of federal government buildings worry about their financial future after a decision to rescind the policy to subsidize daycare rents.

Read full article at CBC.ca

Science of Early Child Development--What is Executive Function

December issue: What is executive function?

Executive function refers to a set of mental skills that are coordinated in the brain's frontal lobe. Executive functions work together to help each of us achieve our goals. Caregivers can support the development of a child’s executive function skills by establishing routines, modeling social behavior, and creating and maintaining supportive, reliable relationships.

The Science of Early Child Development is a multi-media, multi-edition interactive educational resource designed to share the science and information about the vital importance of the early years.

Visit Science of Early Childhood Development website

In Search of Evidence

November, 2014 
Charles E. Pascal, Former Ontario Deputy Minister & Professor of Human Development OISE/University of Toronto

Inspired by the late Fraser Mustard, a report was recently released regarding the progress of early childhood education in Canada. This report provides a stark contrast between this remarkable man of science and one of our nation’s leading evidence-avoiders, Stephen Harper.

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AECEO Responds to Bill 10, Child Care Modernization Act


REGARDING Bill 10: An Act to enact the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, to repeal the Day Nurseries Act, to amend the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007, the Education Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts

Submitted November 18, 2014

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) commends the government’s actions to improve child care in Ontario with the new child care legislation put forward in Bill 10, the Child Care Modernization Act. The short notice and limited time for formal consultation on the proposed legislation is disappointing, as this is a once in a generation opportunity to fundamentally change the state of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ontario. The AECEO is hopeful that the government will engage in a more comprehensive consultation process with the ECEC sector to establish a new regulatory framework for child care programs in Ontario. 

The protective measures put forward in Bill 10 are necessary to ensure the basic health and safety of Ontario’s children. These measures, however, do not move away from a complaint based process for monitoring illegal and unsafe unregulated home child care. The AECEO believes that all children should have access to regulated child care and that the government should make immediate plans and investments to create more high quality regulated child care spaces.

New legislation is a necessary component of a high quality child care system. However, legislation alone is not sufficient for the development and sustainability of a high quality child care system. In addition to new legislation, we urge the government to undertake a more robust policy process in order to develop a comprehensive policy framework that lays out the province’s intentions, rationales, short and long-term plans, and funding and evaluation mechanisms for a system of regulated child care.

Click here to read full response

Child Care Modernization Act, Bill 10 passes 3rd reading

On December 2, 2014, Bill 10, the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.

The legislation will strengthen oversight of the province's unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options for families. In addition, it will allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child's safety is at risk.

The Child Care Modernization Act also:

  • Gives the province the authority to issue administrative penalties of up to $100,000 per infraction by a child care provider.
  • Increases the maximum penalty for illegal offences under the act from $2,000 to $250,000.
  • Increases the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six.
  • Clarifies what programs and activities are exempt from licensing requirements, including care provided by relatives, babysitters, nannies and camps that provide programs for school-age children.
  • Requires all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four to be licensed as a child care centre.
  • Amends the Education Act to ensure school boards offer before- and after-school programs for 6 to12 year-olds where there is sufficient demand.
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What is PLAY and Why is it Important?

Play Wales, November 2014

Much has been written about play. It is generally agreed that it is one of the most complex activities we engage in. In this information sheet we endeavour to draw together the most widely respected statements on play to provide a rounded and comprehensive analysis.

Click here for full report


Child Care in Canada by 2020: A vision and a way forward

A discussion paper for Canada’s 4th national child care policy conference, ChildCare2020

Fa m i l i e s i n C a n a d a desperately need access to early childhood education and child care services that only a comprehensive system can provide. The key to building this system is the same today as it has been for many years: The federal government must step up to the plate. Provincial/territorial programs on their own will continue to evolve in painful, slow steps leaving many parents unable to find or afford quality programs for their children. As this discussion document shows, it doesn’t—and shouldn’t—have to be this way.

Read on to see what federal leadership and dedicated, accountable investment in a child care system could accomplish by 2020.

Click here to read full report

Neuroscience Improves Early Childhood Education Quality

President, Families and Work Institute, Author, "Mind in the Making"
Who doesn't want the education and care for young children to be high quality? Parents look for it, advocates fight for it, policy makers debate it. But just what is it?

Quality has remained somewhat of a black box in early education, but a just-released study conducted by New York University researchers is opening up the box. They tested the impact of a curriculum based on findings from neuroscience revealing that promoting executive function life skills enhances children's engagement and success in school and in life.

Read more at Huffington Post

Getting Kids Outdoors: The nature of boys

From the moment they come into this world, boys have an appetite and energy that does not stop. One minute they are laughing and playing together, the next they're wrestling and fists and toys are flailing across the room. As a mom of two boys, I admit at first I did everything to keep the peace and prevent any and all outbursts, outbreaks and outlaw-ish behavior. I didn't want to raise rough, rowdy boys, instead I wanted sensitive, respectful and loving young men. Not that I have given up on the sensitive, respectful and loving part — which they most definitely can be — but it took a while to accept that boys need opportunities that allow them to be boys. It's in their DNA to run, wrestle and conquer and they will do anything to be king of the mountain even if it is just a pile of dirt. Boys need space to do the things boys love to do, and an outlet to release the unbelievable amount of energy they have. Fortunately, the outdoors has the space and nature has the patience and durability to let boys be boys. 

Read more at petoskeynews.com

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Fact or fiction? Seven persistent myths about child care

Nov 2014 | Canada

BRIEFing Note from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit identifies seven common myths about child care and provides responses for each based on what we know from research, policy and practice.

Stephen Harper announces $3B of tax breaks for families with children

OTTAWA—With an election on the horizon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is moving to put more money in the pockets of Canadians through a $3-billion boost in family tax breaks.

The overhaul of family taxation, announced by Harper in a mini-budget at a campaign-style event in Vaughan, includes a limited form of income-splitting, increased monthly baby bonus payments and an expansion of the tax deduction parents can claim for child care expenses.

Read full article at Toronto Star

Income splitting won’t help parents who really need a tax break

The Harper government’s parental income splitting plan is designed in such a way that guarantees it will only make a difference to the richest Canadians. By design, it cannot help those who need assistance with child care the most.


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Moving Child Care Forward

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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Six lessons Canada can learn from other countries when it comes to child care

Globe and Mail feature writer Erin Anderssen shows us how Canada compares to other countries when it comes to child care, and offers six examples of things we can learn from those countries to improve our own system.

Watch now on The Globe and Mail 

Getting less bang for the child care buck – all $6.8 billion of them

BriefingNote from CRRU analyzes Federal spending on child care via the UCCB, the Child Care Expense Deduction, and hypothetical income-splitting.

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Video: Globe Now: The daycare debate: A look at the politics of affordable child care

Affan Chowdhry is joined by Martha Friendly to discuss Canada's daycare policy. Then, The Globe's Erin Anderssen offers six lessons Canada can learn from other countries when it comes to effective child care.

View video here

AECEO responds to NDP National Childcare program announcement

Early Childhood Educators are the backbone of a national childcare program.

October 16. 2014

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) welcomes the announcement made yesterday by Thomas Mulcair and the Federal NDP regarding their plan to implement a national high quality and affordable childcare program if elected.

We join our colleagues in the childcare community in applauding the NDP for establishing the foundation for a national conversation around early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) leading up to the 2015 election and for their commitment to making childcare affordable for families.

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