Lately I am disheartened as I continue to hear and to read about child care centres that are closing their doors because of funding. Most concerning are the municipal and regional centres that are closing their doors. First Windsor, more recently Peel and now there are other publicly funded centres who are on the proverbial chopping block. All this is addition to the child care closures that are happening in the private sector. The other element of this that I take issue with is that the blame for Ontario child care closures often gets put on Full Day Kindergarten (FDK). I understand that child care centres, both public and private have seen changes since the implementation of FDK, but the issue isn’t the FDK program, the issue is funding. Lack of funding is what’s responsible for closing child care centres, not Ontario’s new kindergarten program. Changes are happening in the early learning and care sector, and I truly believe we should embrace these changes as a good thing.
However, embracing these changes and supporting child care programs to shift and grow to accommodate the different needs in our communities needs to start at the top. What message are we sending to private owners and non-profit agencies who are struggling to adapt to serving a younger child care population when our municipalities and regions aren’t willing to keep their money in child care? How do we expect those centres to push through these struggles with their limited resources when our governments are jumping ship and getting out of the child care business? Why isn’t child care a priority?
We need to speak up. In our communities, in our government; our voices need to be heard and we need to remind them how important the early years are and how important child care is to our community. We couldn’t function without it.
And speaking of a day without child care, I came across this video a while back that a group in California put together, showcasing just how important child care is to the community.
We need to speak up and save quality child care in our communities.
Photo from Bonnerlibrary on Flickr