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Help or hindrance: A policy review of early childhood education and care in rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan

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Rural Voices
Publication Date: 
1 Nov 2003

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpted from abstract:

Research shows that high quality child care enhances all children’s healthy development. Indeed there has been a change over the past few years from viewing child care as primarily a labour market issue to an understanding that quality early childhood education and care programs provide benefits for all children.

At the same time there has been an increasing acknowledgement of child care needs and issues in rural communities. While any system of child care services needs to be high quality, flexible, affordable and accessible, the particular geography, employment patterns and demographics of rural communities make reaching the goals of such a system a challenge.

This report highlights consistent identification of the challenges, needs and issues for ECE professionals working in rural communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The findings are organized into five main topic areas: training/recognition, funding, governance, farm safety and partnerships. Each topic area begins with a brief summary of the main messages of the key informant interviews followed by a more in-depth look at focus group findings.

The report then highlights creative solutions to identified challenges, needs and issues which, if adopted, would result in direct improvements to early childhood education and care operations in rural settings in both provinces. Such improvements could only serve to support the attainment of each province’s goal to ensure the very best start in life for all of each province’s youngest citizens.