Room to grow: Policy options for developing BC’s early childhood education workforce

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The recruitment and retention of a qualified workforce of Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) is vital to ensuring the provision of high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC). British Columbia faces chronic challenges of high turnover and workforce shortages in regulated center-based ECEC, with significant negative consequences for children, parents, educators, and BC’s population overall. Despite well-known historical problems, little research has investigated recent changes, or attempted to develop comprehensive workforce strategies specific to BC. This study seeks to address this gap, using a mixed methods approach of interview data, survey analysis, literature review, and statistical evidence to highlight causes and assess potential solutions in the current BC context. Evidence is found of recent worsening in BC’s early childhood educator workforce challenges. Findings confirm that persistent issues of low pay and poor social recognition remain major problems; highlighted also is a high proportion of small centres, weak workplace and institutional supports, and a recent trend of increased competition for qualified workers from education and health sectors. A set of policy options is systematically analyzed according to a set of criteria, and recommendations are presented.
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etd10082_SCarlson.pdf 2.16 MB