See the future. Look to early learning.
The way children see the world today will create the world we live in tomorrow
Our view of ourselves, of others and of our world begins in our earliest years and sets the course for all the years that follow. If you want to see the future, look towards the work being done by early childhood educators (ECEs) with the children of today. Always with an eye to the future, an ECE:
- promotes child-led discoveries to inspire children’s confidence to innovate fresh solutions to tomorrow’s challenges;
- directs purposeful play to develop the skills children will need to create a strong and healthy community;
- models the empathy and care they hope to see reflected in those same children as empathetic and caring adults;
- listens to, learns from and supports the work of Indigenous knowledge holders and Elders, with the understanding that education is key for reconciliation; and
- celebrates the unique culture and background of each child, ensuring that they see themselves, their cultures and their identities reflected in their environments.
The future of our community begins with the next generation. Today and every day, our ECEs are shaping tomorrow’s worldview.
What is the field of early learning?
If we want to build a happier and healthier society, some of the best investments we can make are in the relationships, environments and experiences that make up our early childhoods.
A lot has changed over the past decade. Extensive research into the power of early childhood experiences has sparked much-needed investment into the field of early learning and a growing respect for the valuable work our educators are undertaking every day. We no longer dismiss the early years as the waiting years until important elementary school work can begin. We know that it pays off exponentially when we ensure that pre-school-aged children have access to high-quality early learning and child care experiences. It’s in these early years that children develop the crucial physical, cognitive and social skills they need to set them on a path to future health and success.
How can you support early learning?
1. Speak the language of respect
- The field of early learning: use early learning in place of – or in tandem with – “childcare.”
- The profession of early childhood educator, or ECE: Use the terms educator, early childhood educator or ECE – rather than “daycare worker” – to more accurately reflect a person’s professional and accredited expertise.
- Where a person works is at an early learning centre: The term “daycare” is outdated and being replaced with “early learning centre,” which is defined as having accredited ECEs on staff.
2. View early childhood educators as a professional resource
- Ask ECEs for advice about children in your care.
- Contact ECEs as a professional resource regarding early learning and child development.
- Seek out ECEs for inclusion on boards and committees within your community.
3. Consider the field of early learning as a career option
- Apply for early childhood educator certification.
- Discover the career options within the field: ECE, early learning centre director, home-based service provider/entrepreneur, researcher, consultant, policy maker, program specialist, etc.
- Promote the field to young people making post-secondary decisions.
4. Spread the word
- Recognize those who do valuable work in the field of early learning.
- Ask questions of early learning professionals you meet working in the field, such as: What are the challenges of your work? What do you love about it?
- Advocate for the funding of quality early learning in your community and across the country.
5. Say “thanks”
- Express gratitude to an ECE, as their work is improving outcomes for the Yukon’s children, and for our society as a whole.
Early learning resources
- Government of Yukon’s Early Learning and Child Care Unit
- Yukon First Nations Education Directorate’s Early Years Program
- Yukon Child Development Centre
- Yukon Family Literacy Centre
- Partners for Children Yukon
- Yukon University’s Early Learning and Child Care Program
- Government of B.C.’s Early Learning Framework
- Government of Canada’s Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework
- Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood
This initiative is supported by the Canada-Yukon Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.