Early childhood care and education available

Child care is a huge issue for us. There are very few spaces available.

This was the message local women told the Progress Plan for women's economic well-being.

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If you've been a parent looking for child care, you know how challenging it can be to find those coveted, quality child care spaces. If you're a child-care provider you may also be frustrated by the challenges of finding qualified staff to hire. Or, perhaps you're seeking meaningful work and want to open your own daycare to earn an income. You need proper certification to do so, but don't want to leave the Coast.

In response to these challenges Capilano University's Sunshine Coast campus is offering a flexible full-time early childhood care and education (ECCE) program with a part-time option beginning in September.

"We are very excited about the training being offered on the Coast. Over the past few months we have received numerous calls from child-care centres looking for staff," said Catherine Bunce, from the child care resource and referral program.

There is a demand for qualified licensed providers in a range of settings and roles. This program will earn you the certificate you need for those jobs. ECCE is also a pathway to a degree and could lead to a teaching career in the K-12 school system.

This program promotes leadership development and showcases new ways of thinking about and engaging in early childhood education.

But what if you can't afford the cost of tuition? The local Canadian Federation of University Women awards several bursaries to women for post-secondary education. The bursary deadline is May 9. See www.cfuwsc.org. There are also financial supports available from other sources.

Don't miss the May 31 ECCE admission deadline. See www.capilanou.ca/sunshine/. Call 604-885-9310 for an appointment with an academic advisor who can tell you about other possible financial assistance.

Editor's note: this article is the first in a series exploring child care issues on the Coast. The Child Care Action Team is a group of concerned parents and professionals working together with the Community Resource Centre's Progress Plan. For more information contact facilitator Hilary Griffiths at 604-740-2222.

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