ETFO urges creation of care centres for early childhood education

    Centres could provide early identification of developmental challenges

    TORONTO, March 28 /CNW/ - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
(ETFO) fully supports the establishment of an integrated system of
community-based early childhood education and parenting centres located in
elementary schools, ETFO first vice-president David Clegg said today. "This is
the long-term vision behind the Ontario government's 'Best Start Plan', which
brings early childhood education into the public school system."
    Clegg was commenting on the 'Early Years Study 2: Putting Science Into
Action' that was recently released by the Council for Early Child Development.
The study suggests that the early childhood education and parenting centres
could implement intervention strategies based on a growing ability to identify
early signs of developmental challenges in young children.
    "The need for 'hubs' for children's services is something ETFO has
advocated for some time," said Clegg. "We have been an advisor, for example,
for Toronto's 'First Duty Project', which is a model for a seamless child
care/education program for kindergarten-aged children.
    "We urge the federal and provincial governments to work together to
establish a network of children services 'hubs' across Ontario," said Clegg,
who noted that dedicated funding from the provincial and federal governments
is absolutely necessary if such an initiative is to succeed.
    Clegg said that elementary teachers know the importance of early
childhood development and early identification of children's learning needs.
"Children come to school demonstrating a wide range of developmental
differences. Quality early childhood education together with parenting
programs can play an important role in addressing these differences," he said.
    Clegg added that elementary teachers view early childhood educators as
partners in delivering high quality programs for young children. "Regulated,
high quality child care is an essential component of early childhood
education. As teachers, we see firsthand the positive effects of quality child
care on the development of young children."

    The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents more than
70,000 public elementary school teachers and education workers across Ontario
and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416)
962-3836 (office), (416) 948-0195 (cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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