While recent educational home childcare educator (HCE) negotiations have achieved important milestones toward the profession’s future, preconceived notions about early childhood educators and others working in this field remain.
Years after the CPE and educational home childcare network was introduced, the “babysitting” myth endures. How long will it take before the role of the thousands of women who are there for our children each day is properly recognized? What if we finally acknowledged that early childhood is the first link of our education system in Québec?
The first of its kind around the globe, recognized for its quality, the early childhood network we now know got off the ground thanks to a strong political will to provide fair, democratic, universal and accessible services to our little ones. The objective was as crystal clear as the commitment toward a robust public network: to foster equal opportunities for each and every child. Looking back at this firm commitment, it seems clear that we now live in entirely different times. We have seen, in the past several years, blatant attempts to weaken our public early childhood network with spurious solutions to non-existent problems. Successive governments have been acting as though strengthening and increasing the number of new spaces in our CPE and home childcare network is dangerous.
Thankfully, facts are stubborn things! Educational early childhood services have reported high and consistent satisfaction levels from parents over the years. And their main criticism (with good reason!) is the shortage of spots. This is combined to evidence showing that greater access to reduced-contribution spots has a direct impact on helping women's access to the labour market.
Our early childhood network is not only enviable but profitable!