Parents, teachers and child care workers are all asking the same question: What if I could pay my way to kindergarten without the expense of a teacher?
“I don’t know that I have an answer to that question,” said Dr. Katherine E. Lee, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who studies child care.
“But I do know that there is an economic incentive to have a babysitting service and to pay for it.”
Lee, who has studied the issue for more than 20 years, is also part of a national network of experts working to develop new programs to provide support for child care providers and parents.
“There is a need to be in the forefront of this because it is going to be really important to the future of our children,” Lee said.
Parents, teachers, childcare providers and others are urging the government to take action to provide affordable child care services. “
If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is that if we don’t have access to child care, we will all suffer.”
Parents, teachers, childcare providers and others are urging the government to take action to provide affordable child care services.
“We know that if the government doesn’t take a strong position, there is a chance we will have more kids living in poverty,” said Kathy Tompkins, executive director of the Centre for Child and Family Development.
While the majority of Canadian children receive their primary education in the public system, the cost can be prohibitive for many parents, particularly parents of young children.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the average annual cost of childcare in Canada is $1,100 per child.
Children aged one to six are more likely to be living in households where the primary income source is social assistance than those aged six to nine, according to Statistics Canada.
Lee and her team of researchers are trying to identify ways to increase the number of Canadians who receive childcare services.
She is working with child care professionals to develop a curriculum that addresses how to teach children in a safe, responsible and ethical manner, and to help parents better manage the childcare environment.
Lee hopes to develop such a curriculum in the coming years.
With files from the Canadian Press