· Leadership at all levels
· A critical mass of knowledgeable policymakers, post-secondary early childhood instructors and researchers
· Post-secondary level training in early childhood with lead staff at degree levels
· Human services management training for program supervisory staff
· Pre-service and in-service training
· Good wages
·Working conditions that encourage good morale and low turnover
· System support for program level staff
· Support, respect and recognition for the value of the work
The human resources — the people — who make up an ELCC system include frontline early childhood educators, family child care providers, centre directors, program managers, local, provincial/ territorial and federal policymakers, postsecondary early childhood instructors, researchers and experts. In all of these categories, leadership, innovation, creativity and a strong knowledge base are foundational. As ELCC programs in Canada expand and expectations for their achievements grow, the complexities of providing high quality programs will require highly skilled people at all levels.
It is fundamental that high quality ELCCprograms have staff that are well educated in early childhood education, skilled, competent, well respected and well remunerated. The considerable body of research supporting this comes from Canada, the United States and other countries. There is evidence of strong associations between high quality child care and the wages and working conditions, post secondary education in early childhood education,and job satisfaction of staff. Strong pedagogical leadership and competent human resources management at the centre level is is important for supporting, nurturing and developing the staff team and implementing the reflective practices known to improve quality.
The interactions between staff and children and the environment created by staff contribute to positive early child development andchildren’s well-being. In turn, high quality programs for children contribute to good working environments for staff, which help attract and retain a qualified workforce.
In Starting Strong, the OECD notes that:
Quality ECEC depends on strong staff training and fair working conditions across the sector. Initial and in-service training might be broadened to take into account the growing educationaland social responsibilities of the profession. There is a critical need to develop strategies to recruit and retain a qualified and diverse, mixed-gender workforce and to ensure that a career in ECEC is satisfying, respected and financially viable.
As provincial/territorial governments in Canada develop plans to increase the supply of regulated child care, a coordinated human resources plan will beessential to ensure the skilled workforce necessary to support the development of quality programs.
Human resources plans will need to address the high turnover of ELCC staff through a recruitment and retention strategy, changes to the low wages and poor benefits in much of the sector, the need for additional pre-service and ongoing education and training for both front-line staff andsupervisors, a body of knowledgeable early childhood instructors at the post secondary level, educating at the post graduate level a body of researchers and policy experts working in the various disciplines associated with ELCC (child development, education, sociology, economics, political science), and public education to increase public awareness of the value of the work of caring for young children.
Atthe provincial/territorial, federal and local levels there will be a need for a critical mass of experienced policy makers knowledgeable in ELCC to design, implement and monitor strategic plans.
Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
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