Category Archives: Events

A Daughter, a Mother and Educator

20150510_150120I was invited to speak at the Stroller Brigade for Childcare today by the local branch of ECEBC. Below is the speech I gave at the event.

I come to you today as a daughter, a mother, an early childhood educator and a proud member of ECEBC.

As the child of two working parents I can speak first hand  at how child care was an integral family support for my family. Because of childcare both of my parents were able to return to work, provide for our family and be contributing members of the economy.

As a mother I know the struggle to find care for my children with qualified educated educators. I know the disappointment of never getting off the waiting list and having to make hard choices when options run out.

I know the sadness of handing in my resignation because I could not find or afford child care.

As an early childhood educator I have seen how getting a spot can transform a family’s life. How knowing their children are cared for by qualified educators and being able to return to work, can lift a family up.

For these reasons I personally support and endorse the $10 a day child care plan.

Early childhood educators have a specialized education and knowledge about young children. We dedicate our lives to life long learning. We know how to tie shoe laces, we know how to make an ouch feel better. We know how to tell a story with the gusto of an academy award winning actor. We know the complexities of play and understand the learning that happens there, and we know how to push that learning in new directions. We know how to provide and facilitate new learning. We know how to expand on the questions of young children.  We know how to support  families when they are low and down. We know how to give a hug when needed. We know how to say I see you. We know all these things yet many of us, dare I say most of us earn below living wages, receive no benefits and quite often don’t even get sick days. Which seems ridiculous to me as we put ourselves in rooms with 20 children with runny noses every day as our career.

It is for this reason that ECEBC supports the $10 a day childcare plan.  We believe the 10$ a day childcare plan will give living wages to the dedicated educators in our field. It will retain educators in our field. It will boost our economy by allowing more people to go back to work and creating more jobs for early childhood educators. Most importantly though it will acknowledge and invest in our youngest citizens. Thank you.

Some more images from the rally

Celine Beattie and Joanne Gordon speaking to the crowd on the issues facing young parents and early childhood education students.


A group of us standing up for child care
A group of us standing up for child care
Our youngest supporters
Our youngest supporters
The men of childcare


If you want to learn more about the plan please go to the ECEBC website to read more.



I matter to a healthy economy

My Dilemma

I matter to a healthy economy

She sits across from me with the biggest smile on her face.

“Danielle” She says “We would like to offer you a promotion.”

“Really?” I ask.

“Yes” with a huge grin she goes on to describe what the promotion entails. A wage increase, increased hours, more responsibility, more autonomy, and benefits.

“We understand childcare may be an issue, so you can do some of the admin work from home.”

“Wow” I either say or think. I am certain I said thank you but I can’t be sure. I was in a bit of shock.

I want to tell you I was bursting with joy and excitement. I want to tell you I jumped up and said “Thank you, I’ll take it!” I want to tell you that but I can’t. What I was thinking at that exact moment was “can I afford to take this opportunity.” The organization thought of the childcare issue but I know my track record of being able to work from home with a three, soon to be four year old running around the house. Blog posts, admin, feedback that I used to be so good at getting done in a timely matter has taken a back seat to snuggles, walks, playing, cleaning and the constant feeding a growing preschooler needs. I know that if I do choose to take this opportunity, I will need child care. Child care costs money. So the numbers start rolling around in my head.

The meeting is over. She asks me to let her know by the following Friday if I will take it.

I go home and I look at the numbers and the reality of the situation is this. Even with an increase in hours and wages my monthly income will be greatly reduced by taking this position. The cost of childcare will take up what extra income I could be bringing home and then some. Based on finances taking this promotion will hurt my family.

How can this be okay? How can we live in a time or place where this is our reality. I love my job, I love what I do, I so desperately want to take this promotion and be happy.

Last year during elections we heard the slogan families first. We heard our premier talk about growing a healthy economy. There was an early year’s strategy, which was fantastic and welcome news. New childcare spaces would be created. I don’t feel like families are first. It’s all well and good to create more childcare spaces but if you can’t afford those spaces what are our options. Doesn’t my contribution to the economy matter?

I can’t sit here and take this reality. Can you? So on July 12th I will be joining the stroller brigade for the $10 a day Childcare. I would invite you to join me. Affordable childcare is part of a healthy economy. More importantly I am part of healthy economy.

Side note: I took the promotion. Fairfield Gonzales Community Association and Kristina please know I felt so valued and so honoured by this opportunity. I may have been fretting about numbers but I was elated.Thank you!


Another Letter of Support for the ELC Program

IMG_2884We will be posting stories and letters of support for the ELC program at Camosun. Tonight’s letter comes from Western Communities Family and Early Childhood Resource Network.

April 3, 2014


The Camosun College Board of Governors
Attention: Dr. Marilyn Pattison, Chair, Board of Governors

Dear Dr. Marilyn Pattison,
On behalf of the Sooke / West Shore Family and Early Childhood Resource Network, a community early years table with a shared vision to promote a better future for young children and their families, we are writing to express our concern regarding potential budget cuts to Camosun College’s Early Learning and Care Program. The Early Learning and Care Department are to be commended for their leadership, growing partnerships and ongoing initiatives that address the needs of the early years community throughout the Region.
The recent announcement proposing potential cuts to the Early Learning and Care (ELC) program has come as significant blow to our communities. At many of our community table meetings we hear from local service providers about the need for more qualified Early Childhood Educators, Special Needs Educators and Infant Toddler Educators, which this cut in funding would dramatically impact. We also hear from local families that have been through exhaustive searches to find quality childcare which these cuts in funding would have a significant impact on.
The West Shore Communities of Langford, Colwood and Sooke continue to experience growth as increasing numbers of families are relocating due to affordable housing and greater access to family focused opportunities. It is projected that the West Shore communities will experience a continued growth in population with a forecasted 92% increase by 2026. With this rapid growth and development continuing for the foreseeable future, there is an increasing need for support of new and existing childcare spaces and programs for families and children. If cuts are made to Camosun’s ELC program it would limit access to trained Early Childhood Educators which would significantly jeopardize our ability to work with government to create more childcare spaces and “improve Early Childhood Educator and out-of-school care provider training.”
With the recent announcement made through the Provincial Office of the Early Years to include more childcare spaces across the province over the next five years we need to be in a position to provide quality educators that are equip to provide exceptional care for children – our greatest natural resource.
On behalf of the Sooke / West Shore Family and Early Childhood Network we strongly encourage you to continue to invest in the ELC program and consider our collective voice and the impact that this potential decision will have on our communities, our families and our children. The vision of providing quality education to future Early Childhood Educators is vital to supporting the broader vision in the early childhood profession.
Shantael Sleight
Sooke / West Shore Early Years Coordinator
Darlene Manthorpe – Belmont Park Pre-School
Ramona Melanson – Early Childhood Educator
Nicky Logins – Sooke Family Resource Society
Mitzi Dean – Pacific Centre Family Services Association
Scott Branch – Military Family Resource Centre

Advocating for Education


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,


Proudly AKA Teacher Rhonda

sand jewels shells copy



You knew who I was talking about, didn’t you!?

Yes, Carlina Rinaldi of Reggio. I had the privilege of listening to her yesterday at the International Innovations in ECE at the University of Victoria, and I, like the other 350 people there, were happy to give her a standing ovation before she uttered a single word.

I first heard Carlina speak at a conference in 2008 when I was just beginning to learn  about the philosophy of Reggio and I was mesmerized by what she said. I wrote pages of notes as she spoke, then filled many more pages of my own reflections on my flight home. I spent the next 4 years thinking, reading, and talking about these ideas. I became part of the Investigating Quality Project where I encountered post foundational thinking, found people who were equally passionate about redefining what child care  can be.  My practice changed, I changed.

So this time as I listened to Carlina speak the ideas were not new to me, in fact it was familiar, like listening to a wise friend. But still I was mesmerized, and again I took pages of notes.

Her message is powerful. She  calls on us to attend to children, to attend to ourselves as teachers, to think about what kind of teacher we want to be, what kind of human we want to be.  She tells us that a strong and competent child needs a strong and competent teacher. That  as teachers we are also researchers, not just of children, but of our own learning processes. That education is to risk,  to trust. That learning is a love story. That learning and loving are the same. And that listening is the key element, we need to be listened to by another, this is what gives us meaning, identity.

Her passion drew me in and I am amazed and inspired all over again.

Trust our children- they are not only our future, they are our present.

Carlina Rinaldi