Funding Crisis in Early Childhood Education – Please Help

A last ditched attempt to speak with the powers that be at my daughter’s nursery school have failed and it will close in June this year. This school has been unbelievably good for our dear one and we are very sad to see it go.

Some parents attended a meeting last night with the program head and all that was clear in the end was that the school is being caught in the same fiscal crisis as many other pre-school programs.

The whole time I sat there listening to their explanations, all I could think about every time they said “child care” is that the school is not child care.

At 3 hours a day, it’s not child care.

It’s education. It’s fundamental to the growth of our children. It’s disappearing before our eyes. 

Call it whatever you want, but it’s essential.

If  you think this doesn’t apply to you because you have no kids, or you are retiring, or you think it’s a parents problem for having had the kids in the first place, think again.  For a society to grow and be healthy, it needs children.  It needs educated, happy, healthy children.  It needs productive and happy parents. 

This letter was drafted by some of the staff at the school for us to send to our MPP Jeff Leal and I urge everyone in Ontario to copy and send it to YOUR MPP before the budget is tabled and ratified. If you are in the Peterborough area, the email is jleal.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

“Dear MPP (insert name here):

I supported the Ontario government’s vision of a system of early learning for all children from infants to 12 years old as laid out in the report “With our Best Future in Mind”. The Government picked just one piece to implement – full-day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year olds. This decision has placed significant financial pressure on child care centres, as caring for younger children is more expensive.

Cancelling what is a universal program for Ontario’s 4 and 5 year olds will not protect the child care sector from collapse. The funding crisis facing Ontario’s child care centres stems not only from the implementation of the full-day learning program but from chronic underfunding.

Funding to municipalities for subsidies has not been adjusted for inflation in 15 years.

Without additional funding for child care in the 2012 Provincial Budget, ever-increasing parents’ fees will continue to rise.  Because of the high cost, many child care spaces will remain vacant, and many centres will have to close. 

Ontario needs more child care, as four out of five  children do not have access to a child care space.  We cannot afford to lose a single space.  It is essential that child care funding be included in the 2012 budget to stabilize our child care programs.  Child care programs are vital for children, families, communities and the economy.”

It’s too late to save Fleming Child Care Centre.  It’s not too late to save other schools and centres.  Take five minutes.  Sip your coffee and send the letter.  Better still, send it on March 9th and 16th.  If we all do it at the same time, it WILL have an impact.

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