September 2023 marks 15 years since the College of Early Childhood Educators (the College) began to take in applications from individuals in Ontario, to become Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) – the only early learning professionals in Canada recognized as part of a self-regulating profession. Today, our membership numbers more than 60,000 professionals who foster the well-being and holistic development of children in their critical early years.
In those 15 years, significant strides have been made to establish and demonstrate the importance of high quality, professional early learning and care, and to support the ongoing learning and growth of RECEs as professional educators. In celebration of those 15 years, we reflect on 15 milestones along the way.
- September 2008: The College opened its doors for ECEs to join as members. Within four months, more than 4,000 individuals applied to become members of the College.
- February 14, 2009: Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007 was fully proclaimed and the first elected Council assumed responsibility for oversight of the College.
- March 2009: Professional regulation processes were established. In cases of alleged professional misconduct and/or incompetence, these processes were put in place to protect the well-being of children and families while ensuring a fair process for members.
- March 2010: The public register was launched. It provides access to information about members and former members, and is the only guaranteed way to confirm that an early childhood educator is a registered member of the College and is entitled to practise.
- September 2010: Full-day kindergarten came into effect following changes to the Education Act in 2009. RECEs were recognized as an integral part of the educator teams in kindergarten classrooms.
- February 2011: The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice was published. It sets out the professional knowledge, skills, values and expectations applicable to all RECEs and serves as the basis upon which RECEs are held accountable for their practice.
- January 2012: The College began issuing wall Certificates of Registration. These certificates can be displayed in an RECE’s place of work, informing employers and parents alike that children are in the care of qualified professionals.
- June 2012: The first Professional Advisory was published on the use of the titles “early childhood educator (ECE)” or “registered early childhood educator (RECE)”. The intent of this advisory is to prevent misuse of titles and to assist members of the College and the public with identifying legal and professional use of the titles and designations.
- July 2014: The College published its first Practice Guideline: Continuous Professional Learning. It was created to support RECE’s ongoing learning and strengthen their practice by grounding it in self-reflection. The practice guideline supported the College’s voluntary Continuous Professional Learning Program which was also launched in 2014.
- August 2015 – The Child Care Modernization Act was passed, replacing the Day Nurseries Act with the new Child Care and Early Years Act and granting authority to the College to mandate continuous professional learning and to accredit programs in early childhood education.
- September 2016: The Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) Program launched. RECEs’ commitment to ongoing learning through the CPL Program upholds their role as professionals and reflective, intentional learners who contribute to improving quality in early childhood education for children, families and communities.
- March 2018 – The CollegeTalk blog was launched, offering RECEs a digital platform for the resources, College news and updates published in the Connexions member newsletter.
- March 2019 – My College Account was launched, moving paper-based applications and renewals to a digital platform. My College Account allowed members to have access to their application and CPL Program details at their fingertips.
- November 2020 – The College made a public commitment to embed anti-racism into all of its work. The Statement of Commitment to Anti-Racism is consistent with the College’s core values of integrity, fairness, inclusion and respect. It acknowledges that change is necessary to eliminate existing racial inequities and that education plays a critical role in driving this change.
- July 2022 – In response to changes to the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007 (ECE Act), the College launched the mandatory Sexual Abuse Prevention Program as part of the revised CPL Program. The program supports RECEs’ commitment to the personal safety, health, and well-being of all children; empowers them with proactive approaches to help prevent child sexual abuse; and helps reinforce the position of trust RECEs have with families and communities.