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More learners in the Kootenays welcomed into early childhood education

By Contributor
June 20th, 2018

More students in the Kootenays will soon have access to training to become early childhood educators, thanks to an expansion of the program at Selkirk College.

The news was announced by Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development and Kootenay West MLA, on behalf of Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

“Working with children is one of the most rewarding things you can do, and getting the skills to help those children flourish into rewarding life paths of their own is key for educators,” said Mark. “Early childhood education programs, like the one at Selkirk College, help students gain the confidence and knowledge they need to succeed in this in-demand field.”

With a $187,500 investment, government is helping Selkirk College add 24 new seats over two years to its early childhood educator (ECE) program at its Castlegar campus. The program will give 12 learners the opportunity to complete a certificate in early childhood education, and allow them to continue on to complete a diploma in the field.

“The majority of a child’s brain development happens in the first six years of their lives, and that’s why it’s so important to give children access to quality early learning experiences,” said Conroy. “As a former ECE, I know from first-hand experience the difference that early childhood educators make in the lives of the children they look after, and the families they serve, so the additional ECE spaces at Selkirk College are much needed for B.C. families.”

Based on the 2017 Labour Market Outlook, B.C. will need 9,100 additional early childhood educators by 2027. Training quality early childhood educators is key to ensuring that B.C. children have access to quality early childhood education programs in communities throughout B.C.

“We are grateful for the funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to immediately increase seats and accessibility to the college’s early childhood care and education certificate and diploma programs,” said Rhys Andrews, dean of health and human services at Selkirk College.

“Program faculty are currently developing online and blended delivery curriculum and developing strategies to deliver practicums throughout the region to meet the needs of learners, early childhood care and education employers and families, from across the region and beyond. The additional funding will allow Selkirk College to respond this September to increase the number of students and graduates, supporting communities’ needs for increased high-quality child care spaces, and contribute to the goals of government around early childhood care and education.”

Childcare BC outlines the Province’s $1- billion investment over three years to help lay the foundation for a universal child care system that will provide B.C. parents with access to quality, affordable childcare wherever and whenever they need it. Funding for the expansion at Selkirk College is part of the $7.4 million over three years that the Ministry of Advanced Education Skills and Training has committed to fund an additional 620 early childhood educator graduates at public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.

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