On February 19, 2015, CFUW Guelph hosted a panel discussion featuring three experts in the field of early learning and child care: Martha Friendly, Executive Director Child Care Resource and Research Unit, Toronto; Zeenat Janmohamed, School of Early Childhood Education George Brown College Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, University of Toronto; and Lorna Reid, Director of Childcare and Learning Centre, University of Guelph.
The discussion focused on a vision for a National Child Care Program, the integration of child care into our education system, and the challenge of operating a child care program in the current policy environment. The goal of the forum was to raise awareness, provide information about the role of different levels of government in providing child care and to engage participants in discussions about needed policy changes. The event was videotaped and will be posted on social media.
The forum was well attended by a variety of community members including school board trustees and staff, early childhood educators, teachers and parents. The media was invited and a follow up article was published in our local newspaper The Guelph Tribune. Members of CFUW National and Ontario Council were also in attendance.
Following the forum committee members met with a senior policy advisor at the Ministry of Education to discuss the future of Early leaning and Child Care in Ontario. We will maintain ongoing contact.
We have permission to continue to communicate about Early Learning and Child Care issues with members of the public who attended the forum. We will be forwarding information about the upcoming National Child Care campaign. Our club has been contacted by a group of Early Childhood Educators working in kindergartens in our community. We will be meeting with them in June to hear their concerns and suggestions.