Welcome to our Wiki Page!

Below are resources for Advocacy and Health and Safety



Advocacy



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The CCAAC website is a comprehensive site that includes information about the different issues facing childcare in Canada and explains their focus and dedication towards promoting a universal public childcare system throughout the country. Their mandate is “Working together for the right of all children to access a publicly funded, inclusive, quality, non-profit childcare system” (retrieved from website, April 17, 2012).

This organization has been active in Canada for 25 years and offers information that is accessible both in both English and French. Parents, educators and other childcare service providers are able to educate themselves through this extremely clear and well laid out site. With information and articles reviewing topics relating to advocacy issues such as lack of spaces for children in centers, public funding, and inclusive and quality care for young and school age children, I found each page of the site easy to read and user friendly.

One of the main issues that educators need to become more aware of is Advocacy and how we can become advocates for our field. The CCAAC have created accessible information to show everyone who visits the site how they can support this association through becoming a member and making donations. As an educator myself, I found that simply reading through the articles provided, it is hard not to want to take a more active role in supporting this important field of work.
A page with connecting links is dedicated to current projects that the CCAAC is focusing on and one of those projects is fighting for the rights of Women and Children to have access to childcare. The CCAAC is determined to hold Canada to its 30-year-old promise of providing quality childcare for Canadian families.

As educators it is our responsibility to support advocates such as the CCAAC so that the children, families and other educators can all benefit in future years.


"Welcome to the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada website." Bienvenue sur le site de l'Association canadienne pour la promotion des services de garde à l'enfance. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.ccaac.ca/home.php>.

Link:
http://www.ccaac.ca/home.php



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The Early childhood educators of BC Society operates in the Province of BC and ‘enhances early childhood educators’ ability to be a strong voice for the profession’. The association formerly known as the British Columbia Preschool Teachers Association (BCPSTA) was established in 1969. It then changed its name to ECEBC in 1988. Its current president is Denise Marshal. Over the past 40 years they have focused on promoting professionalism and improved educational preparation for its members. They also focused on the development of professional support and resources to improve the quality of early childhood experiences for children ECEBC).

Its vision works on influencing the community to value children and childhood and to also respect the professionals who care for and educate children (ECEBC). The ECEBC holds 4 main purposes which are:
  1. To advance education by providing scholarships, bursaries, awards and other forms of financial assisntance to students undertaking post-secondary studies in early childhood education and care (ECEBC).
  2. To advance and provide professional development opportunities in early childgood education across the province through workshops, conferences and seminars (ECEBC).
  3. To educate and inform the public about early childhood education and care (ECEBC).
  4. To engage in the research, development and dissemination of educational resources in early childhood education (ECEBC).



To become part of the society they do have a membership fee. Over the years membership numbers fluctuate and that is probably due to the low wages that many early childhood educators earn. The society makes an effort to keep membership fees low, but they struggle between keeping the fees at affordable prices while meeting the demands of a growing organization (ECEBC).

ECEBC has worked on various projects including editing the ECEBC Code of Ethics and working with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC (CCCABC) on the document Emerging Plan for an Integrated System of Early Care and Learning in BC

ECEBC also has supported the $20/hour strategy. As educators we are aware that many early childhood educators are leaving the field because of low wages. The Early Childhood Educators of BC believe that the benchmark of 20$ and hour is a ‘realistic entry level wage for early childhood educators (ECEBC)’. On their website they include a letter in which they hope that educators will print, fill in, post and share with communities. The letter is an easy way that educators can help advocate the need for better wages in order to provide the best quality care for the children in our communities.
The letter can be seen here .

ECEBC also holds yearly conferences and this years 41st conference is held on May 3-5, 2012.
This is the2010 Conference Brochure


ECEBC.early childhood educators of BC. Retrieved from http://www.ecebc.ca/index.html


Below are also some other advocacy groups:


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BC Child Care Resource and Referral Network: http://www.childcarechoices.ca/


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Article Review:

Early Years Study 3


The “Early years study 3” website clearly outlines in a report format the current issues that ECE faces and in what ways the federal government has been supporting groups in addressing these issues. There is also an index that monitors the funding, policy, access and quality of early childhood programming. It is an invaluable resource for all educators and anyone interested in learning about and keeping current with the progressions of what’s happening and of the developments of the academic index in the field of early childhood education. Chapter 5 on “Public Policy Shapes Early childhood Programs” shows how and to what extent the Federal government has been involved in the shaping of policies and ECE programs dating from the year 2000 to the present. For example a program named “Foundations” was created by the federal government in October 2004 in building a Canada wide system of early learning and child care. Foundations and the Multilateral Framework Agreement on Early learning and Child care (MFA) worked together in creating a plan for supporting educator training and to establish curriculum and accountability frameworks. There is also an “updates” section on the site that shows the current situations and developments in ECCE in the different provinces. The creators and authors of this site Hon, Margaret McCain, J. Fraser Mustard and Kerry McCuaig provide a very informative site that describes how child care centers and programs in all provinces across Canada look like and what is being done to support the development of these programs by the federal government. With an informative site such as this one, as educators we can see the value of our work and what the vision for the future of ECCE is and how we can continue to make a difference in being part of the various programs and groups advocating for quality ECCE programs.

McCain, M.N., Mustard, J.F., & McCuaig, K. (2011). Early Years Study 3. Early Years Study 3. Retrieved from http://earlyyearsstudy.ca



Health and Safety:






Article Review:


'The Quality of Different Types of Child Care at 10 and 18 Months: A Comparison between Types and Factors Related to Quality'

The main focus of this article is to show through much research and studies how quality early learning environments, specifically for children aged 10-18 months, is crucial for each individual child’s health and development. The authors describe the importance of child care quality through a study (done in the USA and Germany) that shows evidence such as the positive correlation found between the quality of care and a range of other aspects of social competence among children. There is also a thorough definition of what child care quality consists of and it shows the availability, the amount of time a caregiver spends with individual children during their early learning years allows for them to make secure relationships and attachments when they grow up. The two sub topics, Quality and costs of care and Qualities looked for by mothers, are two detailed paragraphs on what it takes to provide a high quality child care program for children. It looks at the costs and how low income families can afford to provide these quality early learning experiences for their children as well as what mothers specifically expect and identify as a high quality child care center. The authors show through many different hypotheses and subject tests the type of care used, and its relationship to quality is assessed and reported through graphs that show how quality of care correlates highly with the type of care giving provided. As early childhood educators we constantly focus on providing quality child care programs for the children in our care, but with the lack of support and funding from the government the quality of the programs continues to decrease as there are a lower number of adults and more children to care for which results in a lower quality of care. For the health and development of each child the quality of care needs to be enriched and allowed for all children alike.

Leach, P., Barnes, J., Malmberg, L., Sylva, K., & Stein, A. (2008). The Quality of Different Types of Child Care at 10 and 18 Months: A Comparison between Types and Factors Related to Quality. Early Child Development And Care, 178(2), 177-209




Article Review:

'Advancing Environmental Health in Child Care Settings: A Checklist for Child Care Practitioners and Public Health Inspectors'

This resource is intended to equip child care practitioners and public health inspectors who visit child care centres with practical information on ways to prevent and reduce children’s exposure to toxic chemicals and pollutants in these environments (CPCHE, pg. 1, 2010). The goal is to ‘support the ongoing efforts of child care practitioners, Public health inspectors and families to promote optimal child health and development by focusing on environmental exposures as one of the many important factors that determine child health outcomes (CPCHE, pg. 1, 2010). Along with these suggestions the resource also includes suggestions to encourage sustainable operations of child care facilities, such as pollution prevention, waste reduction, and energy and water conservation (CPCHE, pg. 1, 2010). The document was prepared as part of an Ontario-based project but also includes information relating to other Canadian provinces/ territories.

Awareness and knowledge of environmental health issues very greatly and this resource aims to make this broad and complex subject accessible to a wide range of people. Child care educators can use this document as a self’ assessment and planning tool. The resource is very respectful in that it understands many centres and situations have different needs and it reflects that each centre may choose which steps to take depending on the availability of resources and the issues that they and the families they serve identify as the most important (CPCHE, pg. 2, 2010). They also mention how the suggestions are not intended to replace public health or provincial regulations but they are intended to complement the essential actions that child care practitioners already take to ensure a health and safe environment (CPCHE, pg.1, 2010).

There are 3 main sections to this document. Section 1 provides an overview of children’s vulnerabilities, health issues and exposures of concern in the child care setting (CPCHE, pg.1, 2010). Section 2 presents the checklist of possible actions to improve environmental health in various indoor and outdoor settings (CPCHE, pg.1 2010). Finally section 3 provides background information and suggested resources relevant to each of the checklist sections (CPCHE, pg.1 2010).
The 3rd section which provides supporting information and resources has many resources on all topics including:
  • Outdoor Air Quality (page 17)
  • Outdoor Areas (page 21)
  • Sun Safety (page 26)
  • Indoor Air Quality and Dust (page 29)
  • Cleaning and Disinfection (page 35)
  • Activity, Learning and Play Areas (page 41)
  • Kitchen an Food Preparation Areas (page 46)
  • Renovations (page 53)
  • Surrounding Sources of Chemical Emission (page 55)
  • Sustainability Issue (page 57)

This document is filled with lots of great suggestions and ideas to think about and can be used to not only think about environmental health issues but also as a learning point for using with children.

Another great resource that that has some practical tips on how to reduce environmental health risks to children is on The Canadian Child Care Federation’s Healthy Spaces

Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment. 2010. Advancing Environmental Health in Child Care Settings: A Checklist for Child Care Practitioners and Public Health Inspectors. Toronto, ON: CPCHE.



Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods, written by Richard Louv, paints a picture for the reader of the relationships that children today are experiencing with nature. Outlining the effects of nature deficit in children such as ADHD, depression, obesity, and lack of sensitivity to their surroundings, Louv points to the reality that children’s lack of freedom to be outdoors can be associated with danger and negative consequences. As Louv articulates throughout the book the benefits of a healthy relationship between children and their natural environment, the reader comes to understand that “Reducing that deficit…. is in our self-interest… because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends on it.” (P.3).

Throughout the pages of this book, we the reader, learn about the impact that nature can have on children’s lives, and how we as adults can support or hinder the learning and healing that comes as a result of time spent in a natural environment. Teaching our children about nature helps to ensure that our grandchildren will have natural spaces to play and explore, and the freedom to experience what we and our parents were able to experience; such as building forts, climbing trees and just having the accessibility to unstructured outdoor play time.
Louv takes the reader through the evidence revealing the impact of disconnection from nature on our children’s health, the mounting fear that parents have about the dangers of free play outside due to stranger danger or physical risks from climbing or wild animals, to positive information about how caregivers can support children in the outdoors, environmental stewardship and lastly to an area that can so often be overlooked; children’s spiritual connection to nature. The information is expressed through anecdotal stories and backed up with scientific evidence to create a lasting impact on the reader’s psyche and beliefs about the importance for strong relationships between children and the natural world.
While there are many statistics throughout the book, it is the supporting stories that contextualize the points made for the reader. The strongest message throughout the book that connects all the content is the importance of the child-nature relationship and how adults can either support or discourage that relationship through their actions.

While Educators may have to be on more limited end of needing to control the environments that children are playing in because of health and safety licensing, as well as parental concern, in British Columbia we are blessed with an abundance of wilderness easily accessible.
While the majority of the information throughout the book is incredibly valuable to educators and parents alike, anyone that works with children or interacts with people can gain valuable information from this book.

Overall the strength of the book was in the information and how Louv makes it so clear what we can do to support our children, and through information the reader becomes inspired and called to take action to support the environment and the children that we interact with in it.
In conclusion, this was an extremely valuable book to read as an educator, a nature enthusiast, and as a becoming parent. Louv clearly illustrates his passion for children and nature, which becomes contagious in the best possible way.


Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. 1st edition revised and expanded ed. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2008. Print. Pages 1-316. $14.95 US. ISBN-13: 978-1-56512605-3




Article Review:


'Being Confined within? Constructions of the Good Childhood and Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings in Ireland'

This article by Kernan and Devine shows supported evidence of the importance of outdoor play in early childhood education and care settings in Ireland. Through this article, administrators of early childhood programs and facilities, early childhood educators, and families will be able to see how outdoor play is a crucial part of a child’s health, well being and development. There is a dominant discourse that the authors speak about in which adults have towards childhood and the heightened fear regarding children’s vulnerability to risk and dangers outdoors which ultimately results in rising levels of childhood obesity and the disconnection from the natural environment outdoors. Also there is reference to studies that show that children are given the access to play outdoors, but only at times that are suitable for the staff and educators and not freely accessible for children to go out whenever they choose. The article also speaks more in depth on the idea of safety and the outdoors; it is a place where children of all ages learn to develop confidence and a personal sense of security, although the concern is from the adults who worry about the children’s protection from “risk”. As early childhood educators we need to keep our image of the child in mind while paying full attention to how children interact with their natural environment and see the personal meanings and values they place on outdoor experiences. As administrators we need to be aware of how to set up an early learning center and program that involves being mindful of each child’s well being, needs and experiences outdoors. The authors mention that even the idea of “bad” weather needs to be challenged and the outdoors needs to be seen as a place that is accessible all year round. With these ideas in mind we would be setting up an early child care center that keeps in mind each child’s health and well being.

Kernan, M., & Devine, D. (2010). Being Confined within? Constructions of the Good Childhood and Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings in Ireland. Children & Society, 24(5), 371-385.





Healthy Eating for Children



HealthLinkBC has posted many resources on Healthy Living in BC. This particular page is on healthy eating for Children. The page begins with a topic overview and goes over what healthy eating is and how much food is good for children. It also provides suggestion for helping children eat well and be healthy. Although many of the suggestion are directed at families and dealing with their own children, educators can also use the suggestions in the context of centres.
The website also includes various ‘frequently asked questions’ and provides links to them in giving suggested answers.

Some other resources and links that provide great suggestions for children’s healthy eating can be found listed below:
//Children’s Healthy Eating// by Canadian Child Care Federation


Infants & Children by Vancouver Coastal Health


//Healthy Kids// by Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon


Health Canada Resources links for Educators and Communicators


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Recommended Number of Servings per Day






Allergies in young children


Allergies in young children are becoming more and more prevalent in our classrooms. It is parent’s responsibility to inform educators about their child’s allergies and protocol involved in caring for those children. However, as educators it is extremely important that we are both aware of what to do in case of a child’s allergic reaction, how to prevent an allergic reaction when possible in our classrooms, and as well, be educated about the potential risks for children with allergies in our classroom.

The Health Canada web page I have listed here includes information about the severity of allergies as well as a link to an allergy fact sheet and an on-line article for parents, caregivers and educators to access. The article outlines information about severe allergies, what are the most common allergies in children (food allergies are most common and many centers are now nut free as a result) and how to prevent anaphylaxis as well as what to do in case of an anaphylactic reaction.

Link:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/index-eng.php

"The Government of Canada Reminds Parents of School Lunch Allergen Safety - Health Canada Information Update 2009-08-25." Welcome to the Health Canada Web site | Bienvenue au site Web de Santé Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2009/2009_140-eng.php>.




Review:

‘Preventing Injury in Child Care Settings’



‘This handbook provides an overview of the attitudes, knowledge and skills required by caregivers in their day-to-day work with children from birth through six years of age. It offers a practical framework for understanding childhood injuries and concrete suggestions for avoiding them! (Ministry of Health Planning, 1993)’. The handbook goes through a variety of headings which include Injury Prevention, Child Proofing Indoor Settings, and Childproofing Outdoor Settings with a variety of suggestions and ideas to help create environments that could prevent injuries. Injuries can happen very easily and it is important to think about factors that could help minimize the impact of serious injuries.

This document is useful in that it gives some great ideas on how we can help think about our environments and creating safer areas for children. The first area talks about Injury prevention and speaks about 4 main points that should be considered in order to plan effectively. These points are active and positive supervision, safe space arrangements, developmentally appropriate programming and activities, and preventive policies and procedures.

The next section of the handout speaks about childproofing indoor settings and gave many ideas about things to think about. Ideas about furniture, windows, hazardous materials, doors etc. One idea however about toys suggested to ‘avoid toy boxes with lids as they can cause injury by falling and pinching’ and although this is true, there are types of toy boxes that do have lids in which don’t slam shut but slowly close. (Ministry of Health Planning, pg.12, 1993). Another idea to think about is indoor plants. Plants was also listed in the things to consider in outdoor environments and it included a list of poisonous plants to think about.



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The Canadian Child Care Federation has also put out a resource sheet that includes a ‘Toxic Plant List'

Many of the other points that the handout speaks about things in all our environments and it helps provoke questions about the environments we are setting up. Something that this handout also helps with is at the end how it has an injury prevention checklist which we can use to evaluate our environments with. It also has a list of references, readings and resources in the back which have links to other resources for specific areas related to safety.
It mentions that ‘creating a safe environment is an ongoing process’ and that is something that we must all keep in mind when evaluating our environments and thinking about safety (Ministry of Health Planning, pg. 23,1993).

Ministry of Health Planning. (1993). Preventing Injury in Child Care Settings. Victoria , BC, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2003/oip003.pdf.