Child care – Next month is Child Care Month

Andre Carrel, Terrace Standard

Andre Carrel has a grandson who attended the Terrace Campus Child Care Centre and a granddaughter who is currently enrolled there.


…. Children at the pre-kindergarten age are as yet undeveloped human beings who will, in the decades to come, carry the burden of responsibility in dealing with the consequences of the society we shape today….

Researchers in the field rank Canada dead last amongst developed countries in providing accessible and affordable quality early child care programs…

Children are not only an integral part of every family; children are society’s most important constituency. Our future, social, cultural and economic, will be determined by the effort we dedicate to early childhood development today.

The life-long social and economic consequences of early childhood development are as significant for the individual as they are for society.

The payback for early childhood development is substantial.

Research has proven that for every dollar invested in quality early childcare programs society realizes a six dollar reduction in social, economic, and medical costs over the long term. These numbers are not estimates; they are documented in internationally recognized research.

Next month is Child Care Month in British Columbia, drawing attention to the importance of child care. Unfortunately this is the year when Canada lost its foremost advocate in the field with the sudden death in February of this year of University of British Columbia’s Dr. Clyde Hertzman….

Dr. Hertzman describes early childhood development as a “collective implementation good.” From his documentation we know that early childhood development programs must be based on long-term commitments if they are to succeed….

An effective early child care program involves family, neighbourhood, municipality, province and the nation, with every participant committed to the program and contributing that to which he is best suited.

Such all-out efforts are not impossible; we have managed to bring into existence, administer and successfully execute more than one program of the kind in the past.

Think of campaigns such as anti-smoking, drinking and driving, ozone depletion, and car safety to name just a few. In all these examples the decisive factor was that we identified a problem, made a commitment to act, set a long-term goal and then did it.

The key to success in every such endeavour is always the same: a long-term commitment by individuals and society alike.

Comprehensive early childhood development requires appropriate facilities with enough space and enough staff to enable every child to be enrolled in the years preceding kindergarten.

Early childhood development combines research, monitoring, and trained staff. Facilities and staff must be licensed. It is not a baby-sitting service.

Most critically, an early childhood development program calls for an unwavering commitment of public funds to ensure access without regard to the economic reality of a child’s parents.

Those who fret about the cost to government of such a program need to be reminded of the one-to-six ratio of current expenditures to future savings, to remember that the long-term benefits of investing in early childhood development are not only social, they are economic as well.

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