To Reinstate the Early Learning & Child Care Diploma Program, for the September 2014 school year.
As a concerned ELCC Alumni and Early Childhood Educator I am writing in regards to the proposed suspension of the Early Learning and Child Care diploma program at Red Deer College.
The Red Deer College, Early Learning and Child Care program, offers multiple delivery options, on campus, blended delivery, and distance. This allows traditional students to attend on campus and allows mature students to continue to work full-time and support their family, while obtaining a higher level of education.
Without the ability for students to continue on to the diploma program, many students may choose not enter the field, rather than be forced to take the certificate at Red Deer College and then transfer to another institution to complete their diploma. If students move out of the Red Deer area to obtain their education at another post secondary institution, they may choose to stay where they have relocated especially if they have secured employment through their practicums.
The Government has legislated and made regulations around education levels in child care and there is already a shortage of supervisors (diploma level graduates) to meet that need. Fewer graduates will ultimately affect the number of child care spaces available. The Early Years Study 3 (2011) has already noted that only 1 in 5 children can access regulated care and I fear that this move to suspend the Early Learning and Child Care Diploma program will mean that daycares will be forced to decrease the number of children they can accept into their programs.
Without childcare, we lack the infrastructure for parents to go to work; about 8 in 10 lone-parent families were female lone-parent families in 2011, accounting for 12.8% of all census families (Stats Canada, 2011). This makes the loss of this program a woman's right issue. This program is female dominant and the loss of it could potentially increase hardships for women wishing to obtain post secondary education and for those seeking childcare.
The Provincial Government has placed Early Childhood Development on the top of their priorities according to their Social Policy Framework. “The Children First Act was brought before the Legislative Assembly on May 7, 2013...The bill updates and amends legislation and enhances the tools, process and policies that impact how government and service providers deliver programs and services for children and youth. It also aligns with and supports the work of other initiatives including: the Social Policy Framework, Early Childhood Development Strategy, Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Information Sharing Strategy.” (Alberta Human Services, 2013). The Ministry of Human Services is in the process of developing and piloting a Curriculum Framework for Early Learning and Child Care in Alberta; the Framework requires more qualified, educated, ELCC staff, not less.
Thus, I believe that Central Alberta and the Early Childhood community need the Early Learning and Child Care Certificate and Diploma program through Red Deer College.
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