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Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care Calls for More Culture in Child Care

Posted: Nov 20, 2019

The Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care is composed of institutional and community partners tasked with improving early learning and care in the city, with a focus on vulnerable populations. It was established in 2016 in response to Action #29 of the EndPovertyEdmonton Road Map. EndPovertyEdmonton regards affordable and quality child care as a game changer for ending poverty in a generation.

Culture in Child Care Could Make All the Difference for Edmonton Families - The Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care releases a suite of reports calling for more information and increased attention to culture in child care.

Edmonton November 20, 2019 - On National Child Day, the ECELC is calling for increased understanding of Indigenous and newcomer cultures in child care and for increased information overall. The ECELC has released three reports (below), meant to be considered jointly, that cover issues affecting child care for Edmonton families such as affordability, quality, cultural and social inclusion, reconciliation, and flexibility, as well as barriers to access.In 2016, there were about 75,000 children under five living in Edmonton, with about 13,000 of them living in poverty.

“No Edmonton family should be surprised to hear that child care can cost more than rent, even with subsidies.” says Jeff Bisanz, Co-Chair of the Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care, “But what’s really interesting is the complete lack of data available to help us determine exactly what some of the issues with our current child care system actually are. We don’t even have information to understand whether the 2.8 child care spaces available for every 10 children under 5 in Edmonton are enough. Anecdotal evidence would suggest they aren’t. What is clear, from discussions with parents and providers, is the need for greater cultural context and learning in child care.”

Limited cultural options, combined with high costs, make child care decisions difficult and risky for some Edmonton families, particularly Indigenous people, who are more likely to be discriminated against based on outdated systems of funding and support. Through discussion, many Edmonton families indicated they would prefer access to culturally appropriate child care in a single facility that also provides other family and employment supports.

“A lack of affordable and quality child care options that are culturally relevant can lock people into poverty and constrain hard-working families’ ability to participate in the economy-- to take jobs or start businesses to better their families’ situation.” says Heather Raymond, who works with the ECELC. “We need to ensure affordability and we need to look at ways of supporting providers’ cultural competency, both in a multi-cultural sense and an Indigenous one.”

Supporting Documents

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