The early childhood education sector has been experiencing significant disruption in Québec. Daycares and early childhood centers are struggling to keep staff and it has become practically impossible to hire educators. This shortage is not new, but the situation has worsened over the last year.
As a result, new graduates in early childhood education are in high demand! Now more than ever, the field has an extremely high placement rate.
Evidently, the lack of spots in daycares or early childhood centers has forced some parents to seek alternative solutions, such as keeping their little one at home and putting their professional projects on the back burner.
Furthermore, this educator shortage can negatively affect children’s development and reduce the support available for parents. Going to daycare or an early childhood center lays the educational foundation for a young child. Thanks to their expertise, educators play a major role in the development of the children under their care, and they offer them the tools they need to learn, grow and discover the world. Educators also provide priceless support to families and counsel to parents.
Guerlaine Guerrier, director of the LaSalle des petits Daycare at LaSalle College, is a firm believer in the importance of this stage for a child’s development: “I sincerely believe that we’re giving them the most important diploma of their lives. In collaboration with their parents, we’re molding them into future citizens.”
Early childhood educators are doing a remarkable job even while understaffed, but the situation causes them concern. With frequent employee departures and great difficulty to find replacements, directors’ time and energy is not always spent where most needed. Recruiting and training new employees is very demanding.
But most importantly, educators are well aware of the importance of stability for young children. Working with children means building and maintaining relationships, since the little ones get attached to their educators. Having a stable, qualified team is therefore essential: “Even if we get help from other members of staff, they are often unaware of the responsibilities and the importance of routine. It’s sometimes difficult when you have to explain important information to them while taking care of the children,” explains Bableen, an educator at the LaSalle des petits Daycare and former Early Childhood Education student at LaSalle College.
To mitigate the educator shortage, the College is introducing a new AEC in Early Childhood Education. The goal is simple: train future educators rapidly so that they can quickly join the labor market.
This new program is only one year long and was specially developed to meet the urgent need for educators. Thanks to its balanced “work-family-study” formula, students can switch between online and on-site classes. Weekly classes are also condensed into three days, enabling students to use the other two days for family time or experience in the field.
In fact, field experience is central to Early Childhood Education programs at LaSalle College. From the beginning of their training, students have the opportunity to do internships or volunteer their time at the LaSalle des petits Daycare right here at the College. Bableen completed two internships here before being hired in 2019. She confirms that she learned a lot during these internships and received immense support from the director.
Are you interested in human beings and the phenomena that surround them? Our School of Social Sciences and Education could be for you! Depending on the program, the subjects studied may be more theoretical (social sciences and humanities) or more applied, in workshops, laboratories or internships (early childhood education techniques or special education techniques).