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Letter to the Board

IMGP2599During the next few weeks we will be posting stories of advocacy for Camosun’s ELC program. Today’s letter comes from Janis Johnson, Coordinator of Peninsula Connections.

April 12, 2014
Dr. Marilyn Pattison, Chair
Board of Governors, Camosun College

Re: Potential Program Cuts to Early Learning and Care Program

Dear Dr. Pattison,
Peninsula Connections for Early Childhood, the Saanich Peninsula Early Years Table, wishes to express concern and dismay regarding the proposed cuts to the Early Learning and Care Program at Camosun College. This program is the only one available in our region, a region experiencing a crisis in its ability to secure adequate numbers of qualified diploma level graduates to fill the vacancies in our early learning and care facilities. If we are to have quality early childhood programs we need qualified educators, we cannot afford to compromise and reduce that quality of care for our youngest, most vulnerable citizens. We must all advocate on their behalf.

 
In 2013 the BC Government released its Families Agenda for British Columbia: Building a sustainable quality early years strategy to support BC families. This document focuses on working toward enhanced integration, coordination and development of the early childhood sector. A Provincial Office of the Early Years has recently been established and has indicated that it is preparing to announce the creation of one thousand new childcare spaces in 2015 and thousands of new spaces over the next five years. The early years community in our region is celebrating this positive shift by the government. More than ever we will need access to fully trained Early Childhood Educators. In light of these exciting, desperately needed developments we ask that you please re-consider your plan to reduce the training opportunities for Early Childhood Educators at your College.
 
Camosun College is an integral part of a shared vision of providing quality education opportunities for those who care for our young children. Both the educators and, through them, the children deserve the best that we can offer. Please re-consider your proposed cuts to this valuable program, re-consider the significance of your role related to the enhancement of learning and care opportunities for young children and maintain the Early Learning and Care program as it currently exists.

Sincerely,
Janis Johnson, Coordinator,
Peninsula Connections for Early Childhood

Advocating for Education

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During the next few weeks we will be posting stories of Advocacy for Camosun’s ELC program.  Today’s story come from Rhonda at Lambrick Park Preschool.

Hello ELC supporters.

Today, the preschool children and educators at Lambrick Park Preschool & Childcare delivered a very special letter to the Chair of the Camosun Board of Governors.

The attachments show the envelope the letter was secured in.

The envelope contained over 35, 17 inch paper eggs that had been marble painted with pastel paint by the children and educators at our preschool and our current Camosun practicum student. 

The letter explained that the children had made and given magical eggs to the Board of Governors.  The eggs were to help them all remember to listen, cooperate and share because that is what we learn at preschool. The letter explained that working together was awesome because “everything is awesome when you’re part of a team.”  It explained that the children and educators wanted Camosun to keep its 2 year ELC diploma program just as it is now so that it can continue to provide quality educators for our programs, families and children, maintain professionalism in our field and so we can continue to support and be proud of Camosun College.

We asked the Board of Governors to take good care of our beautiful eggs.

We wrote the letter on manilla paper with a purple, grape smelling Mr. Sketch felt. 

The children made their own envelope and decorated it with a handmade flower and stickers. The envelope was approximately 2 feet by 2 1/2 feet large.

I was honored to hand deliver the special package to the college this afternoon.

Those of you who are fortunate to spend your day working with small children, we encourage you to ask your children to create some special pieces of art and with their permission, send them to the college next week. 

When we all work together, we can create something awesome.  (have you seen the Lego movie??!)

Yours in child care,

Rhonda

Proudly AKA Teacher Rhonda

save the elc

Support Camosun’s ELC Program

save the elcFacing a budget shortfall, the executive committee at Camosun College in Victoria, BC is slating the Early Learning and Care Program for cuts.

Camosun College is facing budget cuts from the Ministry of Advanced Education.  On March 14, 2014, the Early Learning and Care (ELC) program faculty were informed that the program was one of 6 programs within the college that was slated for cuts. This will significantly impact the ELC program. Faculty are currently exploring the possible options to mitigate the cuts. We do not know at this time exactly what the effect on our program and ELC students will be.

Initially, the college planned to cut the diploma program, reducing it to a 1-year certificate program. Since that time, and with significant community advocacy, the college has decided to retain the diploma, but is now looking at in taking students on alternate years, beginning this September. This will reduce by half; the number of ELC diploma graduates in our region, and will significantly reduce the training opportunities for those trying to complete the program on a part-time basis. A letter was sent out to potential students for the September 2014 cohort in early April informing them that there may not be a program starting in September of this year.

 

Please share this information to your networks and follow us on twitter at:  #ELCcuts

 

For more information please read the briefing note:

Camosun ELC Briefing note

 

A letter from the Faculty to the community:

Endings

I feel I owe Anna an apology.

Anna was in my preschool many years ago. She was a very focussed girl who took whatever she was doing very seriously. When she worked on an art project, she was entirely absorbed, oblivious to all else. When I gave her a five minute warning to end her project for group time, she paid me no heed and continuing working. But routines and group times were important to me then, so a battle of wills ensued….and of course I won. Anna stopped working on her project and came to group time.

I was reminded of Anna recently as I sat in an art studio with another educator and a group of children and clay. The clay, still in it’s plastic bag, had been placed on a tree round on the canvas floor.

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The children worked to get it out of the bag, scraping small bits with tools and fingers, working the small pieces, shaping them, pressing them.

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There was deep concentration, and very little talking. Gradually a few kids drifted to other areas, until one child remained.  She gathered the clay together and worked for a while on her own, then put it all back in the bag, and dragged the bag back to the tree round.

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Then she left.

 The other educator and I were left sitting in the studio, looking at the bag of clay.

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Endings, we said. We never see endings. We never see how children and materials come to an ending.  We adults instigate endings, telling children it is time to be finished, always dictated by our schedule. It was lovely to watch an ending dictated by children.

 I’m sorry Anna. I wish I had let you dictate your own ending.

How can this be a good idea?!

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Our local college is facing cuts to the early learning program, meaning that there will be fewer qualified Early Childhood Educators in our region. How can this be a good idea?

The Camosun College program offers excellent education and graduates about 30 students per year. We all know there is a shortage of quality licensed child care spaces in our province. We also know that qualified ECE’s are absolutely necessary for quality care. We also know there is a shortage of qualified ECE’s, particularly for infant/toddler and special needs positions.

Do we as a society think children do not deserve highly educated, motivated and passionate people? Do we think children ages 5 and up deserve well educated, well paid teachers in our school system….but children under 5 deserve less educated, lesser paid teachers?

How can this be a good idea?!