AECEO Community Project: Owning our Educator Narratives

Square image, light blue with dark blue border content includes yellow thought bubble with the words You're Invited date/time of the event and the AECEO logo.

The AECEO is inviting educators across Ontario to create a collaborative visual prose, with descriptions for visually impaired folks. This project will be unveiled at the AECEO 2023 ConferenceJoin us on March 22nd at 7PM to participate!

This meeting will be an opportunity to reflect on representations of ourselves that we create, identify with, and are imposed on us. We will unpack these themes as educators and our whole selves to reclaim our personal narratives.

We will examine existing images, as well as invite participants to choose self-identified visual representations of themselves. 

This meeting is open to all. AECEO members will be invited to a follow up session to share and discuss their chosen images with peers.

Register here!


Letter to the College of ECE in regard to fees

Please see letter from the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, in partnership with the AECEO, sent to the College of Early Childhood Educators on February 23, 2023.

Full letter


Community of Black ECEs Meeting

The Community of Black ECEs invite you to a virtual meeting on Thursday March 2nd from 7:00-8:00pm.
REGISTER HERE

Join us to meet other ECEs, collaborate on issues that are important to us, share knowledge, and get early years updates. Most importantly, we are here to support each other in our work, as individuals and as a community.
March 2nd 7:00-8:00PM EST 
We can't wait to catch up and also welcome new members! 

Call for Submissions - Peer reviewed collection: Fall/Winter 2023 eceLINK

Issue: Fall/Winter 2023                                                                                                  

The AECEO is welcoming submissions for the eceLINK Peer Reviewed Collection:

Special Issue: Disability Justice in ECE

Guest Editor: Dr. Maria Karmiris

Submission deadline:  August 1, 2023

In “Disability Justice—a working draft” Patti Berne (2015) invites scholars, researchers and activists to consider the following question: “How do we move together - as people with mixed abilities, multiracial, multi-gendered, mixed class, across the orientation spectrum - where no body/mind is left behind?”

Inspired by the ways in which this question desires new and innovative responses to past and present discriminatory practices, this call for papers seeks to foreground the aims of disability justice (Berne, 2015; Mingus, 2018; Piepzna-Samarasinha, 2018) as integral to enacting social justice within ECE.

Download full Call for Papers and submission guidelines


Student Survey Opportunity

We are excited to invite students from all levels - diploma, Bachelor's, Master's, etc. - and from every region in Ontario to participate in the survey and share it with a classmate.

The student survey was created by the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) to better understand the student perspectives on the Early Childhood Education Sector including job prospects, wages, and opportunities to advance. 

Should you have any questions or concerns about this survey, please direct them to: [email protected].
Access the survey by scanning the QR code in the image above or via this link. 

 


AECEO Submission to Ontario 2023 Budget Consultations

Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) work in a diverse range of early years settings in Ontario, bringing their knowledge and unique skill set to their pedagogical, caring work with young children, their families and our communities. However, Ontario’s qualified and experienced workforce are leaving the sector, and graduates of ECE post-secondary programs are not entering the profession due to poor pay and lack of decent working conditions. The 2023 Provincial Budget provides an opportunity to build and support a child care and early years system that cares for children, families and the workforce.

Our recommendations: 

  • Invest an initial $300 million to develop and implement a province-wide Salary Scale for RECEs and child care staff/providers. A minimum wage  of $25/hour for all child care workers and $30/hour for RECEs with decent work standards (e.g. benefits, paid planning time, paid sick days) is required to immediately protect and respect the early childhood workforce, and address recruitment and retention issues. 
  • Increase the general child care allocation by $240 million to $1.92 billion to keep pace with inflation, and meet increased costs that licensed child care is experiencing in daily operation. 
  • Adopt and implement the child care community’s Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario, which sets out our vision and a shared path forward for Ontario child care.
  • Fund 7 permanent paid sick days and additional 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies.
  • Reverse cuts to the education budget and allocate funding to lower class sizes, increase wages, ensure paid preparation time and collaborative planning time for the Kindergarten Team, and ensure a healthy and safe work environment.

Read our full submission here


AECEO Statement: Garderie Éducative Ste Rose

Today we’re thinking about the children and families, educators and staff of the Garderie Éducative Ste-Rose. The AECEO extends our deepest condolences to the families who have lost children. We are sending our wishes for healing to the families whose children were injured. We are holding our ECE and child care staff siblings in our hearts.

Child care centres are so often places of community, belonging, and joy, and we mourn with those who have lost their sense of safety in their safest space. We are sending love and wishes for peace to everyone whose lives have been impacted by this trauma. 

Many of us spend so much of our lives, and give so much care, in spaces that are incredibly similar to the Garderie Éducative Ste-Rose. We know that hearing and seeing details of this situation has been heartbreaking and distressing for many educators, child care staff and parents around our province and beyond. We hope that if you are feeling that way, you are able to reach out for help and support. This is a time for all of us to be gentle with ourselves and one another as we navigate these heavy feelings and mourn as a community. 


Black History Month Resources

 

February is Black History Month. As early childhood educators and as a community, this is a time for us to learn, unlearn, and examine how our actions must work to support racial justice.  The AECEO aims to continuously challenge systemic racism and colonial structures that harm Black children, families, and educators within the early childhood education and care sector. Acknowledging that Black educators also face specific challenges in accessing progressive economic and professional opportunities is important to consider as we aim for transformative change.

We know there’s a lot of work to be done towards justice and equality and there will be uncomfortable and even painful conversations and experiences along the way. We also must ensure that Black community members are not tasked with carrying the burden of everyone’s collective learning.  

We remain committed to building a society that values and celebrates Black history and culture, by promoting Black leadership and actively working against systems that surveil, oppress, and disparage Blackness. On February 28th, we will be hosting a Professional Learning opportunity with the Seneca Early Childhood Educators Black Students Association, and we look forward to sharing more details and registration soon.

Below you will find a list of resources that includes suggested readings, videos and local events for all ages in different regions of the province. We suggest you explore this compilation of resources, attend a local event if you’re able to and share these within your community so others can access them. We encourage all early childhood educators and members of the early learning community to join us in dedicating time and effort to critically examining pedagogy, historical and current narratives and committing to specific work that promotes the participation of Black educators, children and families as leaders in our sector and community.

Local Events in Ontario

Online Events 

Readings

Resources for Educators and Caregivers

  • Community of Black ECEs - AECEO Communities of Practice are self-determined learning groups that connect folks to supports, resources, and shared experiences to strengthen a unified early years workforce
  • A Different Booklist - a Canadian, independent, multicultural bookstore specializing in books from the African Caribbean Diaspora and the Global South.
  • Afro Women and Youth Foundation - a Black-Led and Black-Serving organization that provides leadership, empowerment, and mentorship programs to Newcomers, Black Women and Youth
  • Centering the Voices of Racialized Mothers and Educators in Shaping Child Care Response and Recovery in Ontario - an Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care Project, funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada
  • Haymarket Books Haymarket Books is a radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago, IL. 
  • EmbraceRace - a community space that gathers resources and knowledge needed to meet the challenges faced by those raising children in a world where race matters. 
  • Woke Kindergarten - a global, abolitionist early childhood ecosystem & visionary creative portal supporting children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.
  • The Conscious Kid - an education, research and policy organization that supports families and educators in taking action to disrupt racism, inequity and bias
  • Gal-dem - An online media publication, committed to telling the stories of people of colour from marginalized genders.

Video and Film Recommendations


Ontario child care advocates celebrate milestone in affordable child care; push for workforce strategy and transparency

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario welcomed Monday’s announcement by the federal and Ontario governments that child care fees will be reduced by 50% by the new year.

“Affordable child care is life changing for families and for our communities. It is great to see the collaboration between the federal and provincial governments making that a reality for Ontario families”, said Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care Policy Coordinator Carolyn Ferns.

Ontario also announced more details of its use of federal expansion funds, with a promise to use $213 million in federal Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care funds for start-up grants to child care programs around Ontario. 

While it is positive to hear the Ontario government speak about expanding licensed child care, advocates cautioned that it will be impossible to increase the number of licensed spaces without addressing the child care workforce crisis. Around Ontario child care programs cannot operate at capacity right now because of the child care recruitment and retention crisis, let alone plan for expansion. 

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario have called for a workforce strategy including:

  • A salary scale starting at $25 per hour for all child care workers and $30 per hour for Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs);
  • Benefits and pensions;
  • Paid sick days;
  • Professional development time;
  • Paid programming time.

“We need decent work and pay. We need the federal and provincial governments to bring the same level of ambition and collaboration that they have brought to lowering child care fees to raising child care worker wages and developing a real workforce strategy” said Rachel Vickerson of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario.

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care also urges the province to increase transparency as the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care plan gets underway in Ontario. 

“We need regular public reporting, accountability mechanisms and transparent, public consultation going forward. How many child care spaces have already been created? And where are they located? How will programs be selected for expansion and how will the government be guaranteeing that we are expanding primarily in public and non-profit sectors as required under the CWELCC agreement? We need to ensure that every dollar going to create spaces for families is well-spent,” said Ferns.

 

Contact

Carolyn Ferns, Policy Coordinator, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, [email protected], 647-218-1275

Rachel Vickerson, Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, [email protected], 647-393-8952


Fall/Winter 2022 eceLINK Now Available

Cover of Fall-Winter 2022 ecelink showing a collage of participation in the Day of ActionIn this issue:

We would like to thank AECEO Members and the following advertisers for supporting this issue of the eceLINK:

Johnson Insurance

Wintergreen

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Click HERE to become an AECEO member or renew!


At the intersection of safety, ethics, mental health, and well-being: Disrupting the status quo, regulatory approach in Ontario

Statement prepared by Brooke Richardson, Adam Davies, and Michelle Jones and supported by the AECEO Board of Directors and staff

Who are we and how are we evolving as an organization?

One of the AECEO’s goals is to build the collective voice of Early Childhood Educators, who we trust to work creatively, collaboratively, and responsively with children, families, and communities. In doing this work, we understand educators, children, families, and communities as inevitably dependent and inextricably interdependent whereby responsive care relations are the foundation of good practice and quality care environments. While our mandate has evolved over time, one focus of our organization today is to critically engage with sociopolitical forces that undermine the work, value, and experiences of ECEs (and allied professionals) and advocate for change at the program, system, and public policy-level. We embrace our work as political, recognizing our responsibility to identify and challenge the chronic undervaluing of ECEs. But we also know we have much to learn. In the past few years, we have prioritized efforts to think with an anti-racist/anti-oppressive lens through ongoing engagement with Black, Indigenous, racialized, and newcomer educators, communities, children, and families. We are also working to establish stronger relationships with LGBTQIA2S communities to ensure we support gender and sexual minority educators, children, and families.

Why this statement?

This statement addresses two concerns. The first is the need to disclose certain mental or physical conditions or disorders on the College of Early Childhood Educator’s renewal form, and the second is the recent partnership between the CECE and People Connect, an online mental health self-assessment tool aimed at ECE’s mental health.

Download full statement



Rally for the Child Care Workforce

JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN TO SOLVE THE CHILD CARE WORKFORCE CRISIS.

Read more

National Day of Action Phone Zap

Join in demanding that Premier Ford & Minister Lecce build high-quality & accessible child care for Ontario!

November 30th 7-8pm Zoom Registration

Read more

AECEO Statement on CUPE Education Workers Strike

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario is proud to stand with CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) Education Workers as they fight for an agreement that ensures decent working conditions and fair wages for education workers. We have long championed the idea that “educators’ working conditions are children’s learning conditions” and that decent work must be the backbone of our education and care settings. CUPE has attempted to put forward a contract that champions these principles of decent work and quality learning environments – including proposals that ensure an ECE in every Kindergarten classroom, adequate paid sick time, and daily paid planning time for all ECEs and EAs. 

In response, the Ontario government has tabled legislation that imposes a contract on CUPE education workers and removes the fundamental right to collective bargaining we hold as Canadians. The use of the notwithstanding clause in this legislation is unprecedented and harmful to all future labour negotiations in Canada, and to our ongoing struggle for decent work. We call on the provincial government to withdraw this legislation, and return to the bargaining table to negotiate a deal in good faith. 

To the over 4,500 Early Childhood Educators in OSBCU: We see you, support you and are thinking of you. If you are feeling confused, anxious or unsettled, we have space for these feelings too. The evolving situation is complex and completely new – a government has never used the notwithstanding clause in this way before. 

The AECEO staff will be joining the CUPE-led actions in our local communities on Friday November 4th, and we encourage those who are able to do the same. As the AECEO, we will continue to support ECEs in all work environments in Ontario as we work together to influence positive change that benefits ECEs, children, families, and communities. 

In Solidarity,

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario


Find your closest CUPE picket line here


Call for Submissions - Peer reviewed collection: Spring/Summer 2023 eceLINK

Issue: Spring/Summer 2023                                                                                                  

The AECEO is welcoming submissions for the eceLINK Peer Reviewed Collection:

Subject parameters:

Early Childhood Policy, Early Childhood Practice, Early Childhood Pedagogy, Social Justice in ECE, Professionalism, Disability and Inclusion in ECE, Environmentalism in ECE, Collaborative Practices, Diversity in ECE, Action Research in ECE, Early Childhood Classroom Issues at the Program Level, Pedagogical documentation, Engaging How does Learning Happen?  

Form and Style 

Style should be consistent with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Edition). The journal uses Canadian spelling; please consult the Oxford Canadian Dictionary. The editors welcome manuscripts between 5000-7000 words. 

Submission deadline:  December 15, 2022

Download full submission guidelines


Open Letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford regarding implementation of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Child Care Now and the Childcare Resource and Research Unit have written to Ontario Premier Doug Ford with concerns about the Province's approach to the implementation of CWELCC.

Dear Premier Ford:

We are writing to express concerns about the direction and approach of the rollout of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Plan in Ontario. The Province’s implementation has been halting and shambolic since the signing of the Canada-Ontario agreement in March 2022, creating confusion and uncertainty for parents, child care staff, service providers and municipal partners. The Province has also failed to follow through on commitments to community engagement, transparency and accountability. 

We are most troubled by Ontario’s change in direction with respect to for-profit child care funding. Section 4.2 of the Canada-Ontario Agreement commits Ontario to enhancing its current “cost control framework” and “ensuring that costs and earnings of child care licensees that opt-in to the Canada-Wide ELCC system are reasonable and that surplus earnings beyond reasonable earnings are directed towards improving child care services.” 

But in August of 2022, Ontario released revised funding guidelines that remove the entire section on undue profits and requirements for financial audits. As highlighted by federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould in a recent letter to Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, these changes “may run counter to the objective of ensuring the sound and reasonable use of public funds.”

Additionally, this abrupt change in provincial policy direction signals that important features of the new CWELCC system can be changed suddenly and capriciously, and not in the best interests of children and families. Parents, who are forced to rely on the media for information because of the Ontario government’s failure to adequately communicate, are uncertain and anxious about their fee reductions.

The child care community’s alarm is compounded by the absence of promised community engagement with respect to early learning and child care policy development and implementation, especially on urgent issues such as the child care workforce crisis.

An April 12, 2022 memo to municipal child care service managers promised that:

Ontario is also working to develop a workforce strategy aimed at continuing to support improved recruitment and retention in the sector. In the spring and summer of 2022, we will engage sector partners regarding space expansion priorities and the development of an inclusion framework to support the needs of vulnerable and diverse populations including Indigenous, Francophone, Black and other racialized, newcomer, low-income and children with special needs.

There has been no formal engagement of sector partners on a workforce strategy, space expansion or an inclusion framework.  

Even basic public data are being restricted: the community is still waiting for the long overdue release of the province’s Annual Report on Early Years and Child Care 2021, which was expected in late fall 2021. We note that the last Annual Report to be made public was released in October 2020. Accessible public data will be essential as we evaluate the successes and challenges, and work towards a comprehensive early learning and child care system for Ontario families. 

We also want to express our deep disagreement with the erosion of the key role of municipalities (CMSMs and DDSABs), which has long been mandated by Ontario governments. This local government role is an important part of the infrastructure needed to support early learning and child care services through planning, financing and financial administration and quality improvement. We believe the municipal role should be strengthened, not weakened, and stress that there has been no community discussion about the role of municipalities.   

The only consultation that is happening is behind closed doors. As reported in a Toronto Star investigative report, private invitations to a select few to serve on a Minister’s Advisory Table have been made. Meetings began in August but there has been no public announcement about the choice of individuals invited or about meetings, mandate or output of this Table.

The Ontario child care community has long advocated for a publicly funded, publicly managed, high quality, universally accessible early learning and care system, as outlined in our Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario. We advocated that Ontario come to an agreement with the federal government and begin rolling out such a system, which will benefit families and children very significantly. We remain committed to making our vision of a transformed ELCC system a reality. 

Going forward, we call on you, the Premier of Ontario, to:

  • Reaffirm and act on Ontario’s commitment to the spirit and requirements of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care plan;
  • Respond to the federal government’s recent letter by stating that Ontario will implement the cost-control and financial accountability measures outlined in the Canada-Ontario agreement as relevant to all future Funding Guidelines;
  • Engage in public, open consultation on: the funding formula; a child care workforce strategy; non-profit and public expansion; and inclusion. This consultation should be an integrated process that recognizes the intrinsic connections between these facets of a child care system;
  • Release the 2021 Annual Report and commit to enhancing – not restricting – ongoing public access to public data.

We call on you to act now to ensure that the implementation of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan meets the needs of children, families and educators across Ontario. 

Sincerely,


Carolyn Ferns, Public Policy Coordinator

Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

[email protected]

 

Rachel Vickerson, Executive Director

Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario

[email protected]

 

Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director

Child Care Now

[email protected]

 

Martha Friendly, Executive Director

Childcare Resource and Research Unit

[email protected]

 

CC:

               Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Ontario

               Karina Gould, Minister for Children, Families and Social Development, Government of Canada


National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. As a community, this is a time for us to learn, unlearn, and critically examine our own practice as we work towards meaningful action on Truth and Reconciliation. The AECEO team understands that discussing colonization and its ongoing harms can be uncomfortable and even scary, especially when talking to young children. It is critical that we listen to the experiences of Survivors and (un)learn the histories of our country and education system in order to disrupt the consequences of ongoing colonialism and systemic injustice in our own pedagogical work. 

As educators, we believe that it is our duty to have these uncomfortable conversations with each other, our families and our communities. We hope that talking more openly about “scary”  topics will lead to our feeling comfortable in the discomfort in order to be a catalyst for positive change.                                                                                                                                                         
To support you in that process, we are sharing a list of resources our team is using to help you on your own decolonizing journey on Orange Shirt Day and beyond. We also encourage you to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and reflect on the ways you can take action in your pedagogical practice and in your community.

Please be advised that the links below touch on topics such as child abuse, family separation, intergenerational trauma and genocide.

Videos: 

Interactive Resources: 

  • Canada's Residential Schools (Google Earth)  
  • The Witness Blanket
  • This 10 month calendar - following the school year - was created by Kelli Edson Wiebe and Angela Fey to support educators. It highlights Indigenous celebrations and commemorations, and shares the 6 seasons of the Cree & the Anishinaabe moons, free to download and integrate into your program (shared with permission) 

Readings: 

Podcasts:

 Book Recommendations for Adults: 

  • Seven Fallen Feathers - Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, by Tanya Talaga
  • Indigenous Writes - A Guide to First Nations, Métis, & Inuit Issues in Canada, by Chelsea Vowel
  • This Place - 150 Years Retold (graphic novel), by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, et al. Also available in podcast format 

 Book Recommendations for Children: 

  • Phyllis’s Orange Shirt, by Phyllis Webstad 
  • When We Were Alone, by David A. Robertson & Julie Flett
  • Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi's Canoe, both by Nicola I. Campbell & Kim La Fave
  • Kookum's Red Shoes, by Peter Eyvindson 
  • Arctic Stories, by Michael Kusugak

FAQ: CWELCC for Child Care Centre Boards

The AECEO, along with the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Toronto Community for Better Child Care, have released an FAQ/information sheet for child care boards. As more information becomes available about the implementation of the agreement, and how it impacts child care in Ontario, we will continue to work closely with our sector partners to support and inform ECEs as we navigate the implementation of the long-awaited system together.

Download CWELCC INFORMATION FOR CHILD CARE CENTRE BOARDS


AECEO Open House

We were so encouraged to see our community grow in real time as we bonded over shared experiences and hopes at our Open House on July 20th. It was a very special gift to be able to gather with early years professionals and renew our commitment to a job we love.

We talked about our AECEO Communities of Practice(CoPs), the values that guide our organization - and shared an inspiring video highlighting the CoPs. Across Ontario, early years professionals are finding the peer support we need to push through hard times, celebrate our unique talents, and advocate for early learning and care. If you're interested in joining an AECEO Community of Practice, or for more information, please fill out this form

We invite you to also connect with us through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

On our own, our voices tire, but together our chorus rings loud and clear!

To watch the Communities of Practice video please click HERE.


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