Dear BC Early Childhood Educators,
As you are no doubt aware the BC government recently made a historic announcement that puts our province on the path toward universal child care. While the BC child care plan is indeed a positive step and a significant milestone, there are also many reasons I find myself feeling both cautious and somewhat concerned about what’s coming for child care in BC. And I know I’m not alone in my thinking.
For days we’ve been hearing just how important it is for us as Early Childhood Educators to ask questions, to share our thinking and to speak out about the things that concern us related to the new BC child care plan. I plan to do exactly that — and I hope you will too.
All of that said, while the new BC child care plan and what it means matters — there’s actually something that matters even more to me:
As someone who has been involved in the field of Early Childhood Education in BC since I was 13 years old — and who turned 50 this past summer — I’ve been around long enough to know just how historic this child care plan really is. And to also know just how fragmented our field has become.
In ECE, we often talk about sharing our voices and about the value of working together. Additionally, we also talk about ensuring that we hear one another and the importance of respecting varied opinions and perspectives. And while I generally believe this to be true about the culture of our field, I do know that there are still many ECEs in BC who don’t feel heard or equally valued by colleagues from within our very own field. I say this not as a criticism but as an observation. And because it has been representative of my own experience on more than a few occasions over the years. While there are a multitude of reasons why this is so it doesn’t make it right — or easier for those who feel unheard or less than valued.
I am ever so hopeful that the new BC child care plan will afford us the opportunity to not only strengthen wages for Early Childhood Educators but also the ways we understand each other and work together — no matter our role or the day to day work we do within the field.
Now — more than ever — it is essential that we do everything we can to understand, hear and value one another as professionals. All of us. Together.
We need each other — no matter what type of child care we work in, what our role is or how long we have worked in the field. Every educator matters.
And so it’s for those exact reasons that I want to emphasize just how important you are as an individual and as an Early Childhood Educator — or future ECE. And how much your voice matters. I’m well positioned to tell you these things because it took me almost leaving the ECE field to discover just how much my own voice mattered AND for me to decide to stop being quiet. In making that decision, I also came to understand how I could support and encourage other Early Childhood Educators to find and share their voices too. So believe me when I say this:
You matter. You are valued. Your opinions are important. And your voice is essential.
Most importantly . . . we need YOU in ECE.
You offer experience and expertise that is unique to the very person you are. Nobody can replace that.
All of this matters — because you matter.
So hold onto this thought — the voice of every single Early Childhood Educator matters. We need you to ask questions and to share your thinking about what this new child care plan means for you, for your program, for the children and families you work with and for your community.
I believe in who you are as an Early Childhood Educator and encourage you to use your voice and your experience to let key decision makers in government, advocates and our professional associations know what works AND what doesn’t work about this new child care plan. Speak up and speak out about the things you feel are important for our field and about this move toward universal child care.
While I can’t promise you will always feel heard or completely valued by everyone you encounter during your ECE career — I will always do my best to make sure you understand that nobody but YOU determines the value of what you say or contribute to the field. Nobody.
Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt for a second how essential you are and how much your voice matters.
So — please read the child care plan, participate in information meetings and then express your thoughts to the government, ECEBC, the Minister of State for Child Care, your local CCRR or your local MLA. And don’t forget that you you can also express your thoughts on social media — in word, audio and video. Just know — your voice is essential. And nobody — and NO organization – can replace the power of what you have to say. Write emails, make phone calls, post content and have conversations about the things that you love or are concerned about related to this new plan.
And if after reading all of this you find yourself feeling stuck, hesitant, nervous or simply not knowing how to organize your thoughts about what’s happening feel free to contact me and I will be delighted to chat with you and help you figure out the best approach to sharing your thoughts and your voice.
Remember — you matter. And so does your voice and what you think about this new BC child care plan.