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Employer Models: What makes a quality ELCC program?

Employer Models: What makes a quality ELCC program?

March 24, 2023

The Employer Models in Canada’s ECEC Sector reviews an extensive list of early learning operational models. This resource was prepared by the now dissolved Child Care Human Resources Sector Council in 2008. While some of the language is a little dated, the overall message is not. The included employer models are listed on page 6 of the document, and you can locate the example for each model on the table of contents. Each example emphasises what it takes to recruit and retain staff to ensure the delivery of a quality early learning program.

A focus on having quality, educated ECEs in early learning environments is obvious throughout the examples. One owner stated that quality ECEs, “really make your program; you want to keep them, and you should treat your staff like gold. If you have a quality program, the children are happy—and if the children are happy, then everybody’s happy.” This owner also reflects on the fact that staff retention was an issue in 2008, the way it is now, pointing out that,  “staff retention is a huge problem [in PEI] and wages are a big part of it.” (p. 16)

Another centre director highlights how, “All staff at [her] centre have an ECE diploma. Staff retention is high—wages and benefits are good relative to others in the sector, and the program puts a high priority on quality, both because of the children and because it wants to demonstrate to students what a model child care centre looks like.”  This director also supports the importance of ongoing professional learning habits, inclusive of reflective practices to highlight the learning that takes place. She explains how each ECE has an annual performance review where they are given time to develop their own individualised plans for what their personal professional learning goals are for the year to come.

These examples, among the 14 provided in the study, showcase innovative practices and key challenges from the employer perspective and can be reviewed to inform employers across a wide variety of early learning environments.

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