WHEREAS it is recognized that early learning and development opportunities for children improves school readiness and overall social behavior; and
WHEREAS opportunities for early learning and development for children are limited or non-existent in rural and remote communities; and
WHEREAS the provincial government has enacted new legislation for child care staff certification that will restrict the ability of rural and remote communities to provide pre-school based early learning and development;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties advocate to the Government of Alberta to change the 2012 training standards for pre-school program staff, as outlined in Part 3 of the Alberta Child Care Licensing Regulation, to ensure sustainability and the continuation of early learning and care opportunities in rural and remote Alberta communities.
According to the Alberta Child Care Licensing Regulation, licensed pre-school programs will require one staff with the required Child Development Worker Certificate as of September 2012. This designation is issued when a person has:
Source: Government of Alberta “Child Care Certification Guide”. P. 5.
Many rural and remote Alberta pre-school programs operate in communities that have little or no direct access to organized early childhood learning programs, are run by volunteer non-profit boards and operate less than 10 hours a week. The challenge of recruiting to the pre-school teacher positions, based on the licensing requirements, will be difficult in rural and remote communities. Programs that have teachers with the appropriate certification can expect to have difficulty in recruitment with staff turn-over.
Implementation of the Child Care Accreditation initiative allows day care, out-of-school care and group family child care programs to access training and salary dollars for staff to increase their training levels, however this program is not available to pre-School programs. With the loss of training dollars in 2011 that were accessible in previous years, pre-school programs have no resources to attempt to meet the training requirements of the 2012 Child Care Licensing Regulation.
Despite a commitment in previous years by the Government of Alberta to increase child care spaces throughout the province, this new regulation is poised to reduce hundreds of early learning and care spaces in the province, most notably impacting rural and remote communities.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions pertaining to this issue.