Quality by Design working document:

Elements of a high quality early learning and child care system. [pdf, 8pp, 241KB]

Human resources

Qualified personnel and support that includes…

· Leadership at all levels (policy, supervisory, educational and program)

· A critical mass of knowledgeable policymakers, post-secondary early childhood instructors and researchers

· Post-secondary level training in early childhood with lead staff at degree levels

· Human services management training for program supervisory staff

· Pre-service and in-service training

· Good wages

· Working conditions that encourage good morale and low turnover

· System support for program level staff

· Support, respect and recognition for the value of the work

The human resources — the people — who make up an ELCC system include frontline early childhood educators, family child care providers, centre directors, program managers, local, provincial/ territorial and federal policymakers, post secondary early childhood instructors, researchers and experts. In all of these categories, leadership, innovation, creativity and a strong knowledge base are foundational. As ELCC programs in Canada expand and expectations for their achievements grow, the complexities of providing high quality programs will require highly skilled people at all levels.

It is fundamental that high quality ELCC programs have staff that are well educated in early childhood education, skilled, competent, well respected and well remunerated. The considerable body of research supporting this comes from Canada, the United States and other countries. There is evidence of strong associations between high quality child care and the wages and working conditions, post secondary education in early childhood education, and job satisfaction of staff. Strong pedagogical leadership and competent human resources management at the centre level is is important for supporting, nurturing and developing the staff team and implementing the reflective practices known to improve quality.

The interactions between staff and children and the environment created by staff contribute to positive early child development and children’s well-being. In turn, high quality programs for children contribute to good working environments for staff, which help attract and retain a qualified workforce.

In Starting Strong, the OECD notes that:

Quality ECEC depends on strong staff training and fair working conditions across the sector. Initial and in-service training might be broadened to take into account the growing educational and social responsibilities of the profession. There is a critical need to develop strategies to recruit and retain a qualified and diverse, mixed-gender workforce and to ensure that a career in ECEC is satisfying, respected and financially viable.

As provincial/territorial governments in Canada develop plans to increase the supply of regulated child care, a coordinated human resources plan will be essential to ensure the skilled workforce necessary to support the development of quality programs.

Human resources plans will need to address the high turnover of ELCC staff through a recruitment and retention strategy, changes to the low wages and poor benefits in much of the sector, the need for additional pre-service and ongoing education and training for both front-line staff and supervisors, a body of knowledgeable early childhood instructors at the post secondary level, educating at the post graduate level a body of researchers and policy experts working in the various disciplines associated with ELCC (child development, education, sociology, economics, political science), and public education to increase public awareness of the value of the work of caring for young children.

At the provincial/territorial, federal and local levels there will be a need for a critical mass of experienced policy makers knowledgeable in ELCC to design, implement and monitor strategic plans.



Working for change: Canada's child care workforce. Labour Market Update Study
by Beach, J., Bertrand, J., Forer, B., Michal, D. & Tougas, J.
SOURCE: Child Care Human Resources Sector Council, 2004.

Related reading: Labour market update: Background papers
SOURCE: Child Care Human Resources Sector Council, 2005.

Building an integrated workforce for a long-term vision of universal early education and care. Leading the Vision Policy Papers: No. 3
by Cameron, C.
SOURCE: Daycare Trust, 2004.

Early education quality: Higher teacher qualifications for better learning environments - A review of the literature
by Whitebook, M.
SOURCE: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, 2003.

Unionization and quality in early childhood programs
by Doherty, G. & Forer, B.
SOURCE: Ottawa: Canadian Union of Public Employees, 2003.

You Bet I Care! report 1: A Canada-wide study of wages, working conditions, and practices in child care centres
by Doherty, G., Lero, D., Goelman, H. & Tougas, J.
SOURCE: Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being, University of Guelph, 2001.

You Bet I Care! report 3: Caring and learning environments: Quality in regulated family care across Canada
by Doherty, G., Lero, D., Goelman, H, Tougas, J. & LaGrange, A.
SOURCE: Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being, University of Guelph, 2000.


Children in Europe, September 2003 (Issue 5): Early years services – Understanding and diversifying the workforce
SOURCE: Edinburgh: Children in Scotland, 2003. Periodical.

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by Culkin, M.L. (Ed.)
SOURCE: New York: Teacher’s College Press, 2000. Sector study.