Overview and Need
Quality, affordable child care is one of “6 game changers” chosen by EndPoverty Edmonton and is a vision of Child Friendly Edmonton. Through extensive consultation and discussion, quality, affordable child care was identified as an area that will have a critical impact on poverty in our city.
Growing up in a home that has inadequate financial, social and cultural resources for basic family needs can have long-term negative consequences for a child’s development. Recent research on brain science and early learning indicates the negative effects of childhood poverty, especially the years prior to starting school, can be harmful and long-lasting. There is consistent evidence that shows affordable and high-quality early childhood education is one way to mitigate the harmful effects of living in poverty.
Early Learning and Care Committee
The Early Learning and Care Steering Committee (ELCSC) was formed in January 2017 and is supported by the City of Edmonton and EndPoverty Edmonton. Membership includes representation from the City of Edmonton, the Government of Alberta Ministries of Children’s Services, Education, Status of Women, and Health, as well as the Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton Catholic School Board, MacEwan University and citizens from the field of early learning and care.
One key mandate of the ELCSC is to plan and implement a system of early learning and care within the City of Edmonton. ELCSC is working with researchers to develop a preliminary design sketch for an Integrated Early Learning and Care System. The design sketch will be a platform to engage the community to collectively use existing assets and work to enhance coordination, communication and advocacy for the advancement of affordable and quality child care.
In August 2017, the committee also provided a letter of support for City Council’s motion, that:
Administration provide a report to Executive Committee outlining: The potential for (and any barriers or challenges to) requiring future City of Edmonton buildings, including affordable housing development projects on City of Edmonton-owned land, to explicitly consider including space dedicated for early learning and care services at the needs assessment stage.
Further work on the design sketch including the review of current policies, regulations, and levering points to understand partners mandates and determining what is reasonable within the realm of possibilities to move forward on discretionary actions.