Support childcare workers

Support childcare workers Imagine working in an environment where you are tasked with caring for the most precious resource society will ever have. You will be expected to be an educator in the fields of literacy, mathematics, biology and science. You wi

Imagine working in an environment where you are tasked with caring for the most precious resource society will ever have. You will be expected to be an educator in the fields of literacy, mathematics, biology and science.

You will be required to teach appropriate social behaviour, good nutrition, conflict resolution skills and apply first aid. Often you will have to plan and prepare quality programming on your own time and use your own funds to supplement classroom resources. You will need to conduct yourself in a patient, nurturing and loving manner for eight hours a day, 51-52 weeks a year.

Frequently, you will find yourself working in cramped, uncomfortable spaces, some lacking adequate heat and light. You may have to stay indoors for days with eight energetic children because the weather is below minus 20 yet there is no indoor space for exercise. You may or may not have regular coffee and lunch breaks.

You will receive vacation pay, but your wage is so low that all your earnings go to pay monthly bills. There is no dental plan, paid sick leave or coverage for glasses. You will meet many people who do not understand the significance of what you do and will assume that you are just a babysitter.

This is the reality that early childhood educators and caregivers face every day in Whitehorse and in the communities. And yet there are many studies that clearly indicate that children acquire 85 per cent of their intellect, personality and skills by age five.

Poor quality of care given during this period will impact the child for the rest of his or her life. It has a direct correlation to future failure at school, bullying, addictions, crime and poor mental and physical health.

It makes a lot of sense, therefore, that we as a community take a good, long, hard look at how we currently support and fund early childhood education and care in the Yukon. If we care about our children and in the future of the territory, we all need to:

* become informed of the issues and ask those running for public office to commit to stronger support for early childhood education and care;

* increase pressure on our politicians to push for a nationally funded not-for-profit early childhood education and care program;

* ask the City of Whitehorse to implement municipal funding support for childcare subsidies (In Ontario municipalities supply 20 per cent);

* increase direct operating grants to improve quality of care, especially for infants and toddlers; and

* ensure early childhood educators are paid a liveable wage with benefits and are encouraged to pursue university level accreditation.

These recommendations may seem costly at first glance. However, numerous studies have shown that there is a 1:2 long-term cost benefit for every dollar spent on childcare in Canada. And there is adequate proof all around us to show that neglecting this responsibility only creates a long-term financial drain on our educational system, our health-care system, our policing and jails.

Supporting and improving early childhood education and care is an investment in the overall health and future success of our community. We owe it to our children who will be future lawmakers, decision-makers and our caregivers, to provide them with the best care possible – today.

Diane Larkin


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governers

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read