Childcare BC Bulletin
23rd Edition, October 18, 2021
Seamless Day Kindergarten Expansion
Budget 2021 included support to expand the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot, from four to 25 schools throughout the province.
Today, Ministers Chen and Whiteside held an event in Langley to announce the School Districts that will be participating.
The expanded pilot program will employ certified Early Childhood Educators in providing both before and after school care within existing classroom spaces and provide additional learning support for classroom teachers. As these spaces will be used outside of school hours, no additional rooms or buildings are required.
When the Seamless Day pilot was initially launched, some school age providers asked what it might mean for existing child care providers. Government will continue to work with all child care providers, including public, non-profit, family, and private/for-profit child care providers on the path to ensuring inclusive universal access for all families who want child care, when they need it.
There continues to be a province-wide shortage of child care spaces for all ages, and the Seamless Day pilot is just one option Government is exploring to ensure families have access to the type of school-age child care that’s right for them.
Government will conduct research to find out what difference this project is making for children and families. Following the pilot program over the 2021/22 school year, the Ministry will evaluate the program’s benefits before a decision is made on whether to implement the program more broadly.
Inclusive Child Care Updates, Toolkit, and CanAssist Resources
This is the new online home for information on programs and services for children with support needs. The Toolkit is designed for all child care staff including ECEs, ECE assistants, support staff, managers, and operators. It can be used as a guide for developing an inclusive child care plan and enhancing understanding of inclusive child care practices and how to implement them in your facility.
New resources to support toileting in child care developed by CanAssist were recently delivered to hundreds of providers free of charge. In addition, CanAssist worked with more than 300 child care providers, parents, and subject matter experts, including occupational therapists, to develop toileting resources and supports for child care providers and families.
As committed in Budget 2021, the Province is expanding Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Child Development service access to an additional 2,000 children. This programing is a key component of delivering a quality inclusive universal system of child care. The goal of this funding is to reduce wait times and increase access to inclusive child care. Some children who are already receiving support may receive increased hours of support. Additionally, the funds are intended to reduce disparity between SCD and ASCD programs.
If you have not already done so, you may want to consider connecting with your local CYSN office to explore other programs or ways to find supports. Please visit our Children & Youth with Support Needs page to review up to date information on supports and funding currently available to the families in British Columbia, as well as information on how to contact your local your local Ministry of Children and Family Development office.
In the weeks ahead we hope to share some community stories of how this work is directly supporting families. Profiles will be shared on the Inclusive Child Care page above.
ECE Education Support Fund - Fall 2021
New bursaries will soon be available for early childhood education students enrolled in the fall 2021 semester. The upcoming intake will open on October 25 and close November 5 at 4 p.m.
Funding for this semester will be prioritized to students who self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, Inuit), those completing their final requirements for certification this semester, and those who are upgrading their credentials to include Infant/Toddler and/or Special Needs Educator qualifications.
Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis and funding will be distributed upon proof of course completion. Successful applicants will be notified on December 15th.
ECE BC is hosting an online bursary support Webinar on October 21 to assist with the application process. Prospective applicants must register ahead of time.
Child Care Mask Policy for K-12 Students
Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued an updated mask mandate for children. The Provincial Health Office and BC CDC are currently reviewing the guidance for child care centres, and that guidance will be shared, in full, when it has been updated. In the meantime, all school-aged children in indoor child care settings – both on and off school grounds – will be required to wear masks. This also applies to adults working at child care centres, including after-hours custodial staff, and visitors to these centres.
The BC Centre for Disease Control also has child care specific information available, including guidance for parents and frequently asked questions.
If you have questions about how public health guidance fits within your specific circumstances, we encourage you to reach out to your local licensing officer.
Child Care Awards of Excellence Spotlight: Lynette Mikalishen
The director of child care services at the YMCA of Northern BC, Lynette Mikalishen, was honoured as recipient of the 2021 Child Care Award of Excellence for the North Region.
Lynette has served in this role for more than a decade and during this time has expanded the organization’s reach to support child care spaces in Prince George, while expanding child care services to Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Fort St. John, and Chetwynd. She is also an innovator who has both lead and advocated for initiatives to address the childcare shortage in northern British Columbia through Early childhood Educator training and education.
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