In BC, more than half of all early childhood educators (ECEs) leave the profession within five years which limits the sector’s capacity to grow, and reduces access to affordable childcare.
Now, TRU researcher Dr. Laura Doan will be able to do more to help ECEs stay in the profession thanks to a $575,000 grant from the Ministry for Children and Family Development through the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre. This funding is part of the three-year $153-million Early Learning and Child Care agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of BC.
“Investing in early childhood educators is a major step toward giving every child in British Columbia access to high-quality early learning opportunities so they can have the best start in life and a fair chance to succeed,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
“Our government understands that BC parents need more access to child care. We’re building new child care spaces as quickly as we can and working hard to boost the number of ECEs to staff them,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy. “We’ve already launched a comprehensive strategy to boost supports for our early care and learning professionals. This research goes hand-in-hand with that and helps us understand what we need to do to recruit and retain ECEs.”
Doan, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, is developing programming designed to keep educators in the field. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Early Childhood Educators of BC, and is designed to increase retention through the development of a provincewide peer mentoring network. This furthers research that Doan began several years ago with ECEs in the Kamloops community.
“The initial peer mentoring work has been based on what educators in the field said they wanted, and is building on the success we’ve had locally. Our community and the university valued this research, and enabled me to continue and to get the word out about the project,” Doan said.
“Early childhood educators are vital to the health and wellbeing of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, and this kind of research being conducted right here in our community, will create necessary improvements with provincial impact,” said Dr. Brett Fairbairn, President and Vice-Chancellor, Thompson Rivers University.