New bursary supports early childhood educators

Government investing $513,000 to increase the number of early childhood educators throughout the province

The B.C. government is investing $513,000 to help increase the number of early childhood educators throughout the province.

The funding is going to the Early Childhood Educators of BC to establish a bursary fund for students enrolling or enrolled in early childhood educational programs.

To respond to identified needs, priority will be given to:

• Aboriginal students.

• Students attending early childhood educational programs with an Aboriginal focus.

• And students working to achieve an infant/toddler educator designation.

Students will be able to apply for up to $300 per course, to a maximum of $1,500 per semester.

Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux made the announcement at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt, one of 34 post-secondary institutions in B.C. that offer early childhood education programs.

The new bursary program is part of the government’s commitment to increase

access to early childhood educator and care-provider training, as identified in the B.C. Early Years Strategy, launched in February 2013.

Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development says, “The early years sector has expressed a need for qualified early childhood educators in B.C., and in particular, Aboriginal ECEs and ECEs working with  children under the age of three. I encourage current ECE students – and future ones – to apply for this new bursary so they can enter a career that makes a real difference in children’s lives every day.”

The B.C. Early Years Strategy is an eight-year government commitment to  improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children.

Government has committed $76 million to support the first three years of the strategy, including $32 million to support the creation of up to 2,000 new licensed child-care spaces.

The strategy also includes a new BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit.

Starting in April 2015, the benefit will provide $146 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $55 a month per child). In order to receive this benefit, parents file their annual income tax returns and apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. All parents with young children should ensure they file their 2013 tax return.

For more information on the bursary program and how to apply, please email the Early Childhood Educators of BC: mailto:membership@ecebc.ca or visit theirwebsite: www.ecebc.ca/index.php

To learn about becoming a licensed Early Childhood Educator in B.C., visit:

www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/ece/training.htm