DTSSAB sponsoring six early child care students

DISTRICT - DTSSAB, Northern College, and College Boréal are partnering in the creation of a local Compressed Early Childhood Educator Program.

The program will make it possible for six individuals in the district, currently working in the child care field, to continue their education to become a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) in the span of 16 months, as opposed to two years.

"Ontario is experiencing a critical shortage of Early Years and child care professionals," the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board (DTSSAB) stated in a press release.

The provincial and federal governments have announced a $13.2 billion agreement to lower childcare fees to $10 a day by fall 2025, DTSSAB stated.

"To meet demand, Ontario plans to create 86,000 new licensed child care spaces. The District Services Board funded ECE Program Project has been designed to support recruitment and retention strategies across the North to meet this objective.

"DTSSAB will be sponsoring six students, employed across the district at Englehart and Area Child Care and Keepers of the Circle, to complete the program.”

The program’s hybrid format will allow the students to continue to support their respective child care centres during high demand periods, such as before and after school. The compressed program has four semesters, beginning January 9 and culminating in Winter 2024, ending with Early Childhood Educator field work placement.

"Tuition and fees, including books, will be fully funded by the DTSSAB for registered students. The students will also receive their current hourly wage for work hours and school hours to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

"This innovative partnership provides the opportunity to increase the capacity for child care in the Timiskaming district.

"The flexibility of delivery, made possible through Northern College and College Boréal, creates a feasible option for individuals who wish to continue their education but also wanted to keep supporting their day care centres," DTSSAB notes.

“This program provides a great opportunity for child care staff, which is a win-win for both the participant and their child care centres in our district,” said DTSSAB children's services manager Lyne Labelle.

Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker