May 6, 2013
VANCOUVER – May is Childcare Awareness Month and to celebrate the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) is launching the From Seed to Cedar Campaign. The goal is to raise awareness about the need for high quality Aboriginal early childhood development and care (AECDC) programs and to recognize the work of early childhood educators across the province. Join BCACCS at 1pm, May 8, 2013 to kick-off the campaign at Eagle’s Nest Aboriginal Head Start Preschool (618 East Hastings Street).
“We believe that high quality AECDC programs based on First Nations and Métis culture and language have the potential to transform the lives of children and their families,” said Mary Teegee, BCACCS president. “If we want to build strong communities and strong nations, our children must thrive.”
Research by BCACCS shows that more programs are needed across B.C. and that in order to attract well trained early childhood educators wages, benefits, and access to training must be increased. In the BCACCS 2012 Report, “Training and Retention in the First Nations ECE Sector”, 88% of staff respondents reported that they earned less than $20 per hour. A 2011 mapping project, by BCACCS, showed that 48 out of 202 First Nations in B.C. are not able to provide early learning, childcare or other supports for young children and their families.
Urban Aboriginal families appear to have a wide variety of services in some regions of B.C. but gaps continue to exist. Very few licensed Aboriginal urban childcare spaces are available. So, AECDC agencies must work in partnership with mainstream programs to offer a full array of supports and services.
The campaign calls on all community leaders to learn more about the needs of AECDC programs in their communities and become champions on the provincial and national stage. BCACCS wants to encourage early childhood educators, and community organizations to use the campaign resources to raise awareness, promote dialogue, and advocate for support from leaders and elected officials.
“It is the responsibility of all levels of government to make sure children are a priority and ensure funding for culturally relevant programs and policies are in place to support our young children and their families,” notes Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “By supporting and investing in the early years, we ensure our young children’s claims on bright futures, based on their indigenous human rights.”
Children are our future. Learn more about how AECDC supports thriving communities and become a champion today at www.seedtocedar.com and www.acc-society.bc.ca. Join the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seedtocedar or on Twitter @SeedtoCedar.