This past decade has seen tremendous shifts and growth in the early learning and child care sector, and RECEs have responded to these challenges of change.
One of the first changes came with a move away from the provision of educator-led, theme-based learning activities to implementing a child-centred, play-based learning curriculum. Play-based learning is so fundamental to the practice of early childhood education, it was incorporated into the profession’s scope of practice in the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007.
When early childhood educators joined teachers in the introduction of Full-Day Kindergarten in 2010, ECEs brought their unique training, knowledge and skills to the partnership and to the early learning environment. RECEs play a valuable role in the education sector.
Refining the Focus
Other changes brought a more refined focus on how children learn.
On a broad scale, research into children’s learning, development and well-being, especially in the areas of emotional and mental health, has heightened awareness of the importance of caring and responsive relationships. With the introduction of How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years in 2014, RECEs saw pedagogical approaches that guided them in creating strong relationships with children, families and colleagues in order to provide rich inquiry and play-based learning experiences.
More narrowly, there has also been a growing appreciation for the benefits of nature in early learning environments. More naturalized settings are being created indoors and out, and plastic toys are being replaced with toys made from wood and other natural materials.
Risky play – once a major concern of parents and educators – is now being encouraged through environments that allow children to experience for themselves, under careful supervision, their capabilities.
Committed to Professional Learning
Since its creation, the College has reflected the realities of the sector by introducing programs and tools to support the provision of high quality early childhood education.
From the design of the first leadership pilot in 2012 to leadership symposiums in 2013 and 2015, to the launch of the Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) program in 2016, the College has demonstrated a deep commitment to continuing competence i.e. lifelong professional learning. In fact, it recently reinforced this commitment as one of the strategic priorities in its 2018-2021 plan.
“Ongoing learning strengthens RECEs’ practice, develops professionalism and assures parents that the specialized skills and knowledge they expect from RECEs are current and relevant,” reports Melanie Dixon, RECE, Director of Professional Practice.
To support learning, the College regularly produces and makes available important member resources, and requires RECEs to participate in the CPL program.
Whether you graduated 10 years ago, 40 years ago or just recently, visit college-ece.ca to see how these resources help you meet the challenges of change.