Early Learning Centres
A child’s experiences in early learning and child care are a critical foundation for their future success in school and life. The Government of Prince Edward Island recognizes this and is committed to continuing to make important investments in early learning and child care, including increasing access for children and families who need it most, and improving quality.
The Return to ECE Grant is a training initiative for administrators, directors, director designees, teachers and other support staff that own or operate licensed early learning centres. The program offers three training modules and provides one training hour for each module completed. The province has also provided training for home-based educators. These courses help educate home-based providers on the new curriculum and what it means for them as providers.
Child Care Services
A licensed child care service is an environment that provides a safe, caring and nurturing place for children to learn and grow. The services are often located in residential homes or community centers and include EarlyLearn and/or 3-K programs.
The quality of a child care program is determined by its staff, training and educational background. Professional development in the field of early learning and child care includes informal/formal education, training courses, and workshops that enhance knowledge and skills of professionals working with young children. These are sometimes referred to as continuing education or training (CET).
Many states offer quality rating and improvement systems that provide a framework for continuous improvement, support for professional development and incentives to improve the quality of programs. Examples of these include Paths to QUALITY, Indiana’s statewide quality rating and improvement system for early learning and child care.
Paths to QUALITY includes four levels, with each level requiring additional evidence of quality. The highest level, Level 4, requires national accreditation. These programs have demonstrated a deep commitment to the professional growth of their educators and use a curriculum that supports children’s learning. They also share information with families about their programs. Rules about educator to child ratios in centre-based and family day care differ across states, but most have a minimum of one educator per seven children.
Preschool is a critical time for children to develop their learning and social-emotional skills. Children in high-quality preschool programs are more likely to be ready for school and reach their full potential. High quality early learning programs are also more effective at narrowing achievement gaps and conveying long-term benefits for all children.
The YMCA uses The Creative Curriculum, a research-based approach that helps preschool children become confident and creative learners. Its classroom activities encourage children to explore their world by using all of their senses. These explorations help children develop the social-emotional skills needed to manage their emotions, communicate with others and build positive relationships.
The program is open to all eligible children, regardless of their family’s income or immigration status. Families may apply online by visiting COMPASS, the state’s childcare and child development resource system. Families can search for quality child care and other early learning programs, find information about helping pay for them and learn more about the Keystone STARS quality rating system.
To qualify for the Early Learning and Childcare Grant, a family must work or volunteer in a licensed early learning and child care centre where they have a certified Level 3 early childhood educator (ECE) working with them. This ECE qualification meets the full criteria set out by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and allows them to count in the ratios required under the Education and Care Services national regulations.Cache level 3 and Early learning centres