Observing the ECE CapU program expansions in Sechelt and Squamish
Tom Balog // Contributor
British Columbia is seeing a growing demand for early childhood educators. It is estimated that for every 25 children in the province, there is only one trained professional. Early childhood educators require training from established institutions to work with children under the age of five in licensed preschools and childcare centres. There is a variety of pedagogical perspectives and different institutions that align themselves with these ideas. The Capilano Early Childhood Education (ECE) program has been given a funding boost from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to help meet the shortage in the province. The funding comes as a one-time expansion that will take place over the next two years at the Sechelt and Squamish satellite campuses.
Capilano has partnered with Quest University in Squamish to use its campus to run the ECE program. The program runs during the evening twice a week at Quest University. Holding the program at Quest allows Capilano students to become more engaged with a university experience. The ministry awarded Capilano $460,454 for the Squamish expansion. Sechelt was awarded $414,545 to further the ECE program on the Sunshine Coast. Offering the program in more remote areas of the province will help empower community members to meet the demands of early childhood educators.
The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is committed to meet the needs of the childcare issues in BC. Capital funding has been put forth to build more physical locations for childhood centres, and the funding given to Capilano is to compliment the new sites by supporting them with graduates of ECE. Early Childhood Educators of BC is offering a bursary program to new students providing a maximum of $4,000 of funding per school semester. For people who are contemplating to take part in the ECE program offered by Capilano University, the bursary offer is an extra push to join a growing industry. Childhood care centers in BC are struggling to find graduates to fill the positions available.
Julia C. Black is the head of the ECE program at Capilano University and is thrilled about the expansion at the satellite campus. “It feels like we’re on the edge of something exciting in ECE BC,” Black said. “That is in terms of changing the narrative of what early childhood care and education could look like. Trying to move away from seeing it as a service like daycare to being a right and a space that is designed with young children in mind.” The early years of development in children are crucial for creating a foundation to learn lifelong cognitive and social skills.
The funding was awarded earlier this year and the program began in September. The Squamish location will be accepting another wave of students to start in the Spring semester. With the ECE diploma being a two-year program and the degree program being three years, the expansion of the program is an exciting opportunity to join a growing field. New graduates looking for work will have the opportunity to find an establishment that aligns with their pedagogical perspective.