Early Childhood Education Job Settings: Where Your Credential Can Take You
If you love working with kids and believe that children are our future, then early childhood education (ECE) offers plenty of opportunities for a fulfilling career. There are many ways you can use your Early Childhood Education credentials to work for you — from working at childcare centres to opening and operating your own daycare facility. Here are some of the directions you could go.
Ontario has nearly 400 EarlyON drop-in centres and another 700 that operate out of community centres, libraries and schools. These centres cater to children from ages zero to six years, offering a space to play while also serving as a place of advice for caretakers. Parents or caretakers supervise children at these facilities, but early childhood education professionals offer support and lead activities such as reading, storytelling, sing-a-longs and various games. EarlyON centres also help parents and families of children connect with other services available in their communities.
Your Own Government-Regulated Childcare Centre
If you like the idea of running your own business, you can use your passion for working with children to open a childcare centre or daycare. This operation can be home-based or housed in a commercial setting serving a specific region or community. There are several services you can offer depending on your area of interest. Some of the options include babysitting, childcare for older kids, early childhood education services, or operating a licensed childcare centre. The choice is yours, but you need to abide by certain licensing standards if you look after more than three children under the age of 2 (including your own children), or if you look after more than five children over the age of 2 (including your own children under the age of 6), according to the Government of Canada. It’s important to note that caring for others’ children is an important commitment, and by law you are responsible for their well-being when they are in your care. The licensing standards will be there to help you confidently move forward in your business endeavour.
You could also work in one of the more than 1,000 licensed childcare centres in Toronto. These centres provide care for children up to the age of 12. The City of Toronto supports these centres to promote outcomes for children that are in tune with their needs. Many of these facilities come with a rating out of five for the programs and services they offer, giving you an idea of how they are valued, and where your skills might best fit.
Following the introduction of full-day kindergarten in Ontario in 2010, school boards across the province are now required to offer both before- and after-school programs for children. While the school board provides some of these programs, many are served via third-party operators that have set up arrangements with particular schools. These third-party operators are childcare centres located in or near the school. Early childhood educators help lead extended-day programs for full-day kindergarteners at these facilities and play an important role in the children’s learning experience.
Child and family homelessness continue to be issued in Canada with more than 37 percent of households finding it challenging to maintain housing, according to Raise The Roof. The organization estimates that the number of children using shelters grew by 50 percent between 2005 and 2009. As an early childhood educator, you’ll be able to use your expertise to help the most vulnerable members of society in the shelter system.
What to Learn More?
Take a look at Centennial College’s two-year Early Childhood Education program, which has consistently received key performance indicator distinction awards for Employer Satisfaction. The program begins in September and is offered at the College’s Ashtonbee Campus and supported by its two childcare centres, where you’ll gain real-world experience.
Written by: Izabela Szydlo