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