Early childhood workers are passionate about their work and they love children. Unfortunately, excessive workloads, a lack of support and autonomy, and above all, unacceptable wages and working conditions are among the most frequently cited psychosocial risk factors in the field of early childhood education services.
Figures that speak volumes
If the government does not improve wages and working conditions, nearly 47% of home childcare providers (HCPs) could leave the profession within three years, according to a survey of HCPs conducted in 2020 by the FIPEQ-CSQ.1
“Ministerial requirements are constantly increasing, but working conditions are not improving,” says Valérie Grenon.2
In addition to their work with children, HCPs must now have an up-to-date educational program and prepare a file for each child, which they must then present to parents twice a year. These requirements are added to the multiple administrative, pedagogical, and maintenance tasks they must perform outside of their service hours.
No better in CPEs3
The situation is hardly any better in childcare centres, which are struggling to attract new talent and find replacement staff. To meet staffing needs, early childcare educators often sacrifice their breaks and mealtimes to be with toddlers, take care of groups that exceed the ratio, work with children with special needs, etc. They even go to work when they are sick because they are understaffed.
Early intervention with our little ones
“Experts agree on the importance of early intervention with young children. They must have every chance to succeed in school and in life. It’s not normal that the work and passion of people who have made early childhood education their profession is so disregarded,” says Valérie Grenon. “It’s high time that the government make this type of service a real priority. Let’s start by respecting and valuing those who dedicate their lives to it.”
1 Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance du Québec.
2 Valérie Grenon is president of the FIPEQ-CSQ.
3 Centres de la petite enfance.