Child care and early childhood education – a precarious balance

  • Jan. 4, 2018 1:30 p.m.

Parents struggle to balance their work schedule and their family schedule all while trying to balance their finances.

You might say “it has always been the case.” But are today’s families facing greater or different challenges? Perhaps what has worked in the past no longer works today? Or perhaps we have just been accepting a child care and early education system that always should and could have been improved?

Politicians regularly promise to offer more help for families, but is heavily subsidized daycare what’s needed? Certainly it would help the finances of many families, but where is the education component? Is there sufficient flexibility?

Twenty years ago, the Quebec government began to offer heavily subsidize daycare spaces. Demand was very strong at first, yet the number of private, unsubsidized daycare spots has exploded, growing from a mere 1,600 in 2003 to more than 61,000 at the end of March 2017. The occupancy rate at subsidized home daycares has slid four percentage points in the past year, to 82.13 per cent. Why would people choose private over subsidized daycare?

Perhaps the answer could lie in perceived quality of care. Perhaps those families who can afford it want something more than a child-minding service.

At the next Philosopher’s Cafe on Jan. 10, Joanna Tancon helps explore some of the options that might be explored to better meet the needs of today’s families.

Tancon has been involved in the business of childcare for over 35 years; as an unlicensed babysitter, a Licence Not Required Provider, and as a Licenced In Home Daycare.

She has facilitated daycare support groups for childcare providers, and has watched many good providers grow frustrated with the antiquated age restrictions and difficult licencing protocols, and leave the business. She has attended numerous training workshops on meeting the emotional, mental and physical needs of young children, and has enjoyed being a resource person for young families. Passionate about the worth of good childcare, she has lobbied for years for change.

Join in Wednesday, Jan. 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Berwick to discuss this social challenge.

This is the latest in a free speaker series held once per month where a speaker will introduce a theme to the Café and then all who attend can join in respectful, non-partisan conversation – or just sit back and listen.

Organizers welcome the public to propose topics and introduce them at future Cafés. Themes should be of broad interest and national significance, and have an element of controversy.

At this session, Joanna Tancon will have just 10 minutes to introduce the topic, and then the floor is open for 50 minutes of moderated discussion.

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