Every day, early childhood educators (ECEs) provide Ontario’s children with safe, responsive, and caring interactions that build a strong foundation for their development and well-being.
Children who participate in high-quality learning environments experience increased verbal communication, reading, math, and science skills, as well as a host of other benefits.
Uncover the facts about the many ways ECEs benefit children, their families, and the growth of our economy. Download our fact sheets.
Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education provides Ontario’s children with safe environments to explore, learn, and play.
When children are nurtured in environments where their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health is taken into consideration, they thrive in countless ways. They:
- Have an 80% chance of graduating high school (vs. a 60% chance for those who don’t enroll)¹
- Have a 12% higher chance of pursuing higher education
- Are less likely to repeat a grade3
- Become higher earners in the workforce (3)
Although early childhood educators (ECEs) provide children with the foundation they need to grow into future leaders, they are often undervalued and unsupported with the resources and programming needed to ensure successful outcomes. Currently, Ontario’s ECEs face many obstacles in achieving their goals for children within their programs.
- 43% of ECEs reported that they have considered leaving the sector since the onset of the pandemic (4,5)
- 20% of ECEs have seen work hours increase, but of those only 9.3% reported an increase in wages (5)
- 54% of ECEs reported decreased job satisfaction (5)
- 13% of ECEs are actively looking for opportunities outside the sector (5)
- 36% of ECEs reported a decrease in planning time (5)
- 26% average turnover rate for ECEs in licensed child care settings (6)
ECEs indicated that the 3 most challenging aspects of their careers are: (5)
- 60% Compensation
- 53%Physical nature of work
- 40% Job responsibilities not related to care for children
- The Editorial Team, “Benefits of Early Childhood Education,” Resilient Educator, April 2022, https://resilienteducator.com/classroom-resources/can-early-childhood-education-impact-graduation-rates
- Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and Lauren Bauer, “The long-term impact of the Head Start program,” Brookings, August 19, 2016. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-long-term-impact-of-the-head-start-program/
- “Early Childhood Education,” National Education Association, December 2, 2021. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/action-center/our-issues/early-childhood-education
- Alana Powell, Carolyn Ferns, Shevaun Burrell, “Forgotten On The Frontline,” Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario & the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. May 2011.
- R.A. Ma latest & Associates Ltd. “Workforce Study For Early Years and Child Care Employees,” Ministry of Education, December 2017
Akbari, E., & McCuaig, K. (In press) Early Childhood Education Report, 2020. Toronto, ON: Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development OISE/University of Toronto.
High-Quality Licensed Child Care
High-quality licensed child care provides Ontario’s children with safe, responsive, and caring interactions that build a strong foundation for development and well-being (1).
When children are nurtured in environments where their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health is considered, they thrive in countless ways.
90% of adult brain development occurs between birth and age five (2).
High-quality licensed child care helps children develop vital skills during their first five years, which marks a critical developmental period in a child’s life.
Early childhood educators (ECEs) provide children with the foundation they need to grow into future leaders. ECEs use their extensive knowledge of learning and child development to create high-quality learning opportunities through play and exploration. Educators are trained to:
- Understand brain development and how to support healthy growth (1)
- Identify children’s developmental stages and capabilities in social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic, and physical domains (3)
- Build partnerships with families to support children’s well-being (3)
- Plan activities that promote learning and build on children’s current abilities and interests (3)
Participation in high-quality learning environments, can help support children and their communities and to improve social, health, and academic outcomes.
Benefits for Children
- Physical and mental well-being (4)
- Decrease in chronic health problems (7)
- Increased self confidence (4)
- Improved outcomes in literacy(5), math, and science (6)
- Higher rates of completing high-school (8)
- Increase in conflict resolutions skills (4)
Benefits for communities
- Increases the number of women in the workforce (9)
- Decreases the need for social assistance (9)
- Increases household income (9)
- Decreases participation in criminal activity (8)
- Ontario Ministry of Education. (2014). How does learning happen? Ontario’s pedagogy for the early years. Toronto https://files.ontario.ca/edu-how-does-learning-happen-en-2021-03-23.pdf
- Kolb, B., Whishaw, I. Q., & Teskey G. C. (2019). An Introduction to Brain and Behavior (6 ed.): Worth Publishers
- College of Early Childhood Educators. (2017). Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. https://www.college-ece.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Code_and_Standards_2017-4.pdf
- Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2016). From best practices to breakthrough impacts: A science-based approach to building a more promising future for young children and families. http://www.developingchild.harvard.edu
- Domond, P., Orri, M., Algan, y., Findlay, L., Kohen, D., Vitaro, F., Tremblay, R.E., & Côté, S.M. (2020). Child care attendance and educational and economic outcomes in adulthood. Pediatrics. 146(1)
- McClure, E. R., Guernsey, L., Clements, D. H., Bales, S. N., Nichols, J., Kendall-Taylor, N., & Levine, M. H. (2017). STEM starts early: Grounding science, technology, engineering, and math education in early childhood. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
- Blewitt, C., Morris, H., O’Connor, A., Ifanti, A., Greenwood, D. and Skouteris, H. (2021), Social and emotional learning in early childhood education and care: A public health perspective. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 45: 17-19. https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.13058
- Yoshikawa, H., Weiland, C., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2016). When Does Preschool Matter? The Future of Children, 26(2), 21–35. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43940579
- Oxfam Canada (2019). Who Cares? Why Canada needs a public child care system. https://www.oxfam.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/who-cares-report-WEB_EN.pdf