The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) provided funding to the Early Childhood Community Development Centre (ECCDC) to develop and administer the Mentoring Pairs for Child Care (MPCC) project as part of its Supervisor Training Strategy. The Ministry's agreed‐upon objective for MPCC was to enhance the quality of Ontario's early learning and child care centres through increasing supervisors' application of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council's Occupational Standards for Child Care Administrators (CCHRSC, 2006).
There were also eight other goals: (1) revitalize supervisor enthusiasm about working in the ELCC field; (2) increase supervisor professionalism; (3) increase supervisor leadership skills; (4) increase the level of job satisfaction among supervisors; (5) establish mentoring relationships among ELCC supervisors; (6) increase supervisors use of reflective practice; (7) influence organizational change and inter‐relationships between post‐secondary early childhood education programs, child care organizations, and child care practice; and (8) have a positive impact on the communities in which MPCC operated in addition to having a positive impact on MPCC participants and their centres.
The main components of MPCC were: (1) a community development approach to organizational change; (2) transmission of administrative and leadership knowledge and skills through a formal curriculum delivered to all participants; (3) replacement of the traditional ‘instructor' with an ‘animator' who facilitated group discussion and analysis of the information provided; (4) a strong mentoring component emphasizing collegial learning and peer support; and (5) program delivery that enabled participants to continue to work at their centres full‐time.
As demonstrated in this report, MPCC successfully achieved all eight project goals. In doing so it enhanced the quality of a sub‐sample of mentee graduates' centres to a degree that could not have happened simply by chance (p <.01) as measured on the total score for the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised (Harms et al., 1998). There were also enhancements in mentors' centres that were not statistically significant. Demonstrating significant gains on the ECERS‐R less than two months after the completion of the program is a remarkable achievement given the opinion expressed by experts that enhanced service delivery after administrator training takes time and may not be demonstrable for a year or more (Gursky, 1990, Knapp‐Philo et al. 2006).
The data also demonstrate that mentors, who had five or more years of experience as supervisors, as well as mentees experienced a renewed enthusiasm for their work; and increased professionalism, leadership skills, job satisfaction and use of reflective practice. Due to the design of the program participants also obtained an ongoing peer support network.