Working in ECEC

Joyce Hughes

Joyce Hughes: Director, Kids Korral Day Care, Fredericton, New Brunswick

Joyce Hughes says she got “hooked” on working in child care after she started volunteering at Kids Korral Day Care two days a week. That was close to 30 years ago, and as the centre’s director ever since she came on staff, Joyce has seen the program grow from seven four-year-olds to its current enrolment of about 90 children from birth to age 12.

The program’s expansion has sometimes been spurred by parents’ changing circumstances. Infant care started at Kids Korral when a parent with a child already at the centre became pregnant and asked if the program could accommodate the baby.

“We had a meeting and said ‘yes’ and she blessed us with twins,” said Hughes.

Hughes’ training is in teaching, although she worked as a teacher only briefly. She got her first-year early childhood education certificate and some child care administration training through evening courses at New Brunswick Community College. She has also been involved in the New Brunswick Day Care Association (Fredericton Region) since it was formed and is a member of Early Childhood Care and Education New Brunswick.

Hughes reports to the centre’s board of directors. Her job includes doing billings, record-keeping and overseeing the centre’s finances. She also recruits and directs staff. A good part of her day is spent on the floor with the children and teachers.

She says it is much harder to recruit staff today than it was 30 years ago. “When we opened the day care people beat a path to our door looking for work. Very few come knocking now.”

It bothers Hughes that the job of a child care worker is not respected and that her staff have to struggle to make ends meet—the two key reasons it’s hard to find good staff.

Hughes says she will retire soon and although she will miss child care, “maybe I’ll come and visit and read a story once in awhile—after the new director gets her wings.”