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Child, Youth and Family Services
May 24, 2012

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services:

Minister Acknowledges the Essential Role of Early Childhood Educators

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize that May 27 to June 2 is Early Childhood Educators’ Week, a week-long celebration that serves to highlight the professionals who make an incredible contribution to the care and development of children in Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are approximately 850 certified early childhood educators across the province working in a variety of settings, including child care centres, family child care homes and family resource centres. Many others work as instructors and consultants in a variety of sectors.

Our government provides an annual early learning and child care supplement to early childhood educators working in regulated child care. Full-time Level II’s working in centre-based care receive an annual amount of $6,660 and Level I’s receive $3,330. Level II family child care providers receive $4,660 per year and Level I’s receive $2,330. Level II early childhood educators who own and operate their own centres and work directly with children in these centres receive $4,660 per year.

We also provide a $5,000 bursary to graduates of the two-year early childhood education diploma program. This bursary requires a two-year return in-service agreement. Summer institute bursaries of $1,200 are also available to those students who are upgrading their credentials via the distance education program at College of the North Atlantic. As well, our government provides an Early Childhood Education Entry Level Supplement of $500 per year for those enrolled in upgrading to a Level I Child Care Services certification.

These early childhood educators are an asset to the children and families they work with, and to the province as a whole. Through play-based learning, early childhood educators provide support and guidance to children as they learn to explore the world around them, interact with friends, ask questions, and solve problems.

By helping to set the stage for learning and development, early childhood educators are not just supporting our children, they are shaping the future. Our government certainly recognizes the vital role that these professionals play in our communities and we will continue to support them in their important work.

In Budget 2012: People and Prosperity, we announced significant investments in child care, including the 10-Year Child Care Strategy, which will see government double its annual budget for child care by 2021-22 to approximately $56 million.

Under the strategy that will be released in the coming weeks, our government will implement a number of initiatives to address the recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators into the child care system. These include enhancements to Early Learning and Child Care Supplements and improvements to the process for attainment of a Level 1 certificate through post-secondary education, workplace training and prior learning recognition. These initiatives reflect what we heard from early childhood educators during the province-wide consultations on the 10-Year Child Care Strategy.

I would like to thank the Association of Early Child Childhood Educators Newfoundland Labrador and all early childhood educators for their hard work and commitment to helping our young children reach their full potential.

Thank you.

2012 05 24                                 1:55 p.m.

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