Challenges in Early Childhood Education

There are many challenges faced by early childhood education in Nunatsiavut, but at it’s core is the problem of being able to create programs and services that are a balance between the Inuit tradition but also prepare them for entering the school system at the same developmental level as other children in the province. This can be difficult to do. Any institution created that is similar to elsewhere in the province will not reflect anything Inuit cultural values, but there needs to be some assistance provided by the provincial government in order to have the same standards as other institutions province wide. It would require extensive cooperation and involvement between both levels of government

Nunatsiavut exists in a unique position in this province. Although they have autonomy in many regions, they are still subject to federal and provincial laws and regulations

Child Care Service Regulations are monitored by the provincial Department of Child Youth and Family Services. This means institutions in Nunatsiavut are regulated by the same standards as institutions throughout the rest of the province. These regulations concern things like health and safety, child-instructor ratio, staff qualifications and group sizes. Since 2005, the Nunatsiavut Department of Health and Safety Development has been responsible for maintaining these things.

The staff qualification regulations are an area that is particularly punishing for programs in Nunatsiavut. The staff at day cares and similar institutions are required to be certified. Owners/operaters must have a minimum of a two-year diploma in early childhood education (ECE). Any staff member must have at minimum a one-year diploma in early childhood education . This diploma program is offered at the provincial College of the North Atlantic (CNA), at three different campuses, Happy Valley Goose Bay, Corner Brook and St. John’s. All of which would mean a relocation for training for those interested in working at or owning a childcare institution in Nunatsiavut.

A comparison with the Inuit region of Nunavik in Quebec is revealing.
A table showing the difference between Nunatsiavut and Nunavik. Compares the number of trained instructors and hourly pay

As shown, Nunavik pays its teachers must better and has far more trained staff. Better pay can help with retaining trained teachers, as well as encouraging people to seek employment at early childhood institutions.

If an institution fails to meet provincial regulations, it cannot be licensed or credited as an official institution. So it cannot receive funding or promote and advertise as such. Funding allows for the development of more infrastructure and can provide more services to more areas that desperately need it. Lack of certified places and funding means group sizes need to be small. Without additional funds  services cannot expand to accommodate more children.

As the following table demonstrates, Nunavik receives more funding and is in a better situation to provide services for those needing early childhood education

Table comparing Nunatsiavut and Nunavik. Shows how much people pay for services, the early cost of the infrastructures and number of infrastructures. Nunavik is ahead in all areas

Nunatsiavut and Nunavik

 

Next

Tagataga Inc.. “Inuit Early Childhood Education and Care: Present Successes- Promising Directions: A Discussion Paper for the National Inuit Education Summit.” Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Inuit Tapirit Kanqtami, 2007. (accessed 5 November 2014). ProQuest ebrary.

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