Daycare must develop our children

Jenn McGarrigle, Nanaimo News Bulletin

For many parents, finding adequate – or any – daycare services is a huge problem.

In my limited experience, the mothers or fathers either stay at home at great financial expense – living on one income is difficult these days – or go back to work and try to find a daycare that is accepting children. This too, I am told, can be a challenge.

Some parents try to rely on friends and relatives to save money, because daycare isn’t cheap even if you find something that lines up with your work hours.

As one of my relatives found out, being a single father working in the construction industry in the Lower Mainland narrows your options drastically.

Most operators don’t want to start work at 6 a.m. and cater to workdays beginning at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m….

But what if there was some form of publicly-funded child-care system that all parents could access, where children would receive the same quality of care, no matter how much money their parents made?…

A public child-care system could pay for itself in the long run – trained educators would work with children, ensuring they spend their time in care doing developmentally stimulating activities….

In many households, both parents must work to make ends meet and don’t have as much time to spend with their children as parents did 30 or 40 years ago. Other parents are, for various socio-economic or other reasons, unable to give their children adequate support.

With universal access to quality daycare, at least someone is spending time helping a child prepare to learn.

Paul Kershaw, with the Human Early Learning Partnership, estimates that reducing the number of kindergarten kids who are vulnerable upon entering the system would save the province billions of dollars in crime costs alone.

In The New Deal for Families, he states that access to childcare services with fees of no more than $10 a day would remedy “today’s epidemic of unregulated, unaffordable child care and early learning services”.

This service would give parents enough employment time to manage the rising cost of housing and stalled household incomes, he says….