Working in ECEC

Why Work in ECEC?

“Child care is central to providing support to children and families, enabling parents to contribute to the economy and ensuring the learning, care, and developmental needs of children are met. The child care workforce is critical to the success of these outcomes and to the well-being of a healthy and productive society.” – CCHRSC Working for Change Report, 2004

Through their day-to-day work, early childhood educators make a significant contribution to the development of children, and to the well-being of families and society. 

The Value of Early Childhood Education and Care

For Children:

High-quality early childhood education and care supports a child’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual growth. With many studies showing how the first five years are critical to lifelong development, the importance of positive early learning experiences is clear.

High-quality child care provides:

  1. An equitable starting point in life for all children, including children with disabilities or other special needs
  2. Age-appropriate developmental activities that help a child reach full potential
  3. Early learning opportunities, which are linked with future success at school and work

Early childhood educators provide care and play-based learning designed to meet the developmental needs of the child, foster positive social interaction, and build a foundation for lifelong learning. They can also help detect barriers and challenges to a child’s healthy development and learning and work with parents or government agencies on behalf of a child.

For Parents:

Quality child care allows parents to balance work and family responsibilities. With an increasing number of women with young children in the paid workforce or in education programs, access to affordable, high-quality child care is not an option for many families—it is a necessity. Statistics demonstrate the importance of early childhood education and care services for Canadian families:

  1. In families with 2 working parents, 71% of children were in child care in 2003 (Statistics Canada, Report on Child Care, April 2006)
  2. In single-parent families, 83% of children were in child care in 2003 (Statistics Canada, Report on Child Care, April 2006)
  3. The female employment rate in Canada is 76%; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average is 64% (OECD Report 2004)
  4. In 2 of 3 two-parent families, both parents work (OECD Report 2004)

For Society:

An investment in early childhood education and care is an investment in children and families, with significant benefits to Canadian society. Economists estimate that for every $1 spent on child care, there is a $2 social and economic benefit:

  1. Early childhood education and care help shape children’s development and set the stage for their future as citizens, workers and parents. By fostering social ties, early childhood education and care leads to better physical and emotional health, greater community involvement, and lower poverty and crime rates.
  2. Early childhood education and care level the playing field among all children by providing an equitable experience for all children no matter what their background or needs.
  3. Quality early learning experiences are linked with greater productivity for those children when they become adults—an important element in success at work and economic security.
  4. Mothers who currently work outside the home contribute $83 billion annually to our economy. Making child care available to more families would improve Canada’s international competitiveness by enabling more of our best people to work.

Children’s experiences in their early years can make a difference over their whole lifetime, with far-reaching implications for Canada’s social and economic well-being. For these reasons, economists have documented that the long-term benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care far outweigh the costs.