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Who benefits from educational and child care services and what purpose do they serve?

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Discussion paper prepared for the CCSD's national conference on child care in Canada
Tougas, Jocelyne
Publication Date: 
27 Oct 2004

Excerpts from the discussion paper:

Regardless of their form, today's child care centres seem to have specific functions:

Children who go to good child care centres (the concept of quality will be addressed below) acquire knowledge and skills they will need to survive, develop and grow in the present and into the future. This educational function prepares children for school. Through play and interactions with others, it lays the foundations for their learning, integration with the group, scholastic success, and eventually, their full participation in community life.

Child care centres also serve by looking after children while their parents or tutors are not around. Thus, they must adapt, to a certain extent, to the practical requirements of families and the community in terms of their proximity, flexible schedules, affordability, accessibility, diversification, and the like.

Child care centres are a venue for the transmission of social and cultural values. The centres continue and complement values taught in the home. They are the places where children are exposed to and influenced by others' values, where children consolidate their value system, acquire their own visions of the world, learn to socialize and function as part of a group.

Child care centres are a place of employment for thousands of people in Quebec and the rest of Canada, and they constitute an essential resource which enables parents to participate in the labour market, study, pursue professional development opportunities, and participate in community life &em; all of which contributes to society's wealth and the community's economic prosperity.

Because child care centres take in all children, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, religion, abilities, family composition or financial situation, they serve an important democratic and civic function &em; a function in which equal opportunity and justice for all are daily realities, where being part of the group is reflected in the activities carried out together and with shared objectives, and where the search for the common good takes individual well-being into account.