The early learning and child care sector is evolving in increasingly complex and challenging environments. Identifying innovative practices and solutions that better meet the needs of children and families is necessary to improving early learning and child care practices for the benefit of families in Canada.
On October 11th, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, was at Collège Boréal in Sudbury to announce funding for a total of 16 projects that aim to improve the quality, accessibility, affordability, inclusivity and flexibility of early learning and child care programs and services across Canada.
The announced funding includes $506,339 to the Carrefour francophone de Sudbury for their Action Research and Model Transfer: Forest Preschool project, which aims to provide children aged 5 and under in early childhood centres with an ecology-focused learning experience.
The 16 projects, funded through the Early Learning and Child Care Innovation Program, are receiving a total of $27.4 million in federal funding over three years, and will be completed by March 31, 2025. The call for proposals focused on projects that foster cutting-edge practices to support the changing nature of early learning and child care, placing a priority on projects that address the needs of families grappling with the impacts of the pandemic.
Additional consideration was given to projects promoting cultural diversity and inclusion and to projects primarily targeting children and families with unique child care needs. This includes Indigenous families, lower-income families, families with children with varying abilities, newcomer families, single-parent families, Black and other racialized families, families from official language minority communities, families working non-standard hours and families in underserved communities. Projects that support the next generation of early learning and child care leaders, such as researchers, practitioners and service providers, were also considered.
The Government of Canada is aiming to support the improvement of early learning and child care service delivery for all Canadian families and their children. These projects will help develop a better understanding of the changing nature of early learning and child care, including innovative tools, models and approaches that have the potential to be replicated, scaled and adapted in other communities and regions across Canada.
Later in the day, the Minister participated in a roundtable with parents at Discovery Early Learning and Childcare, who are seeing their child care fee reduced because of the Canada-wide early learning and child care system. Now, more than ever, increased access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care is crucial to building a system that meets the needs of children and makes life more affordable for Canadian families.
For more information, please see the news release.