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Child, Youth and Family Services (May 25, 2012)

In recognition of the important role early childhood educators play in the learning and development of young children, the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, was joined by representatives from the early childhood education field to proclaim Early Childhood Educators Week 2012, as well as announce enhancements to child care services.

“It is my pleasure to acknowledge the contributions of early childhood educators and proclaim May 27 to June 2 as Early Childhood Educators Week in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Minister Johnson. “Our government recognizes and supports these professionals as they facilitate the play-based learning experiences that serve to build a solid foundation for our children.”

There are approximately 850 certified early childhood educators across the province working in different settings, including child care centres, family child care homes and family resource centres, as well as many others working as instructors and consultants in a variety of sectors. Over the course of Early Childhood Educators Week, there will be workshops and activities taking place throughout the province that will celebrate early childhood educators and provide them with opportunities to learn, exchange ideas and network.

“We are very pleased that the Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services is demonstrating to our membership and to the general public that she understands and appreciates the value of early childhood educators,” said Mary Walsh, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Association of Early Childhood Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador. “We encourage parents and the public to also take the time to let these professionals know their work is appreciated.”

In addition to proclaiming Early Childhood Educators Week, Minister Johnson announced enhancements to the Early Learning and Child Care Supplement, which will come into effect next year. These include a supplement increase for Level I early childhood educators working in a child care homeroom from $3,330 to $6,660 annually, and a supplement increase for Level II early childhood educators working as operators in a child care centre from $6,660 to $10,000 annually.

Minister Johnson also announced the creation of a new one-year Early Childhood Education (ECE) certificate program and provided further information on a workplace ECE training program that will include an accelerated process for recognition of prior learning and experience.

Graduates of the one-year ECE certificate program will be eligible for Level I certification granted by the Association of Early Childhood Educators Newfoundland and Labrador. Combined with the increased Level I supplement, this new certificate program will provide an incentive and opportunity to entry-level child care staff to obtain Level I certification.

To further support entry-level staff working toward an ECE certificate, the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services is developing a workplace ECE training program. This program provides child care centre employees who have entry-level certification with the opportunity to attend Level I certification training. The Provincial Government will provide funding to compensate for wages while the employee is completing this training. Child care licensees will then be able to backfill the employee’s position while they are off on training.

“These enhancements to child care services are an important development in our 10-Year Child Care Strategy as they will assist with the retention, recruitment and training of child care staff,” said Minister Johnson. “By building a stronger and more qualified workforce, children and families across the province will benefit immensely from an increased level of quality child care.”

In Budget 2012: People and Prosperity, the Provincial Government committed to doubling its annual budget for child care by 2021-22 to approximately $56 million under the 10-Year Child Care Strategy.

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Media contacts:

Michelle Hunt
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 725-1593
michellehunt@gov.nl.ca
Mary Walsh
Chairperson, Board of Directors
Association of Early Childhood Educators Newfoundland and Labrador
709-834-4548
maryjwalsh@nf.sympatico.ca