An Epiphany About Early Learning
So we've all heard the very tired sayings about how our children are the future, and yada yada we need to invest in them. It's seems banal to say it because it is so obvious and yet it was with quite a shock that I started to learn how little we invest in children and families in Canada when I started work on the From Seed To Cedar Campaign In January.
The BC Aboriginal Child Care Society (BC ACCS) approached me to create a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of Aboriginal Early Childhood Development and Care (AECDC) and create a community of champions for this cause across B.C.
BC ACCS has been dreaming of this campaign for a long time. The staff are so passionate and I was very excited to work on the project. It was truly eye opening to learn how crucial the early years really are and how little support there is for these programs in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Early Childhood Educators are often paid less than janitors and they spend 40 hours a week teaching our children to develop strong spirits and minds. Parents pay upwards of $1700 dollars a month often for subpar care.
in Aboriginal communities especially, when we talk about the legacy of residential school, AECDC programs are crucial lifelines to culture and tradition and crucial tool for building the strong communities of tomorrow. They raise children that have a sense of self that is rooted in their cultural identity, help teach parents, and change graduation rates, crime rates, poor health outcomes and so much more. So much is at stake without access to these programs. How can we create strong communities in the future when we rob our children of their potential by.
The two graphs below from the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC really brought the issue home for me. The first shows brain development activity in a child from 0-7 and the second shows the economic return on investment of education programs from preschool to trade level training. In this election there has been so much talk about skills training for jobs in our communities. The ROI for those education dollars is the lowest and yet we hear nothing about a universal childcare plan in BC to make the most of those lucrative investments in the early years.
The campaign was launched May 8 to celebrate Childcare Awareness Month. Our goal is to raise awareness about the issue and build a community of champions who can advocate for change at the grassroots level. We created a campaign website www.seedtocedar.com which hosts basic information and resource tools for advocates.
The videos we produced with Zack Embree and Corrina Keeling are the campaign's centre piece. I am so proud of them, and fortunate to have worked with these talented film makers.
Check it out. Spread the word. And stay tuned to see how it goes.