These parents got help taking care of their young children in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

Published October 17, 2023 at 12:40 pm

These parents got help taking care of their young children at Peel Region's child care centres and Early ON centres in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

Parents who want to give their young children a head start in life, in an environment that’s stimulating and educational are encouraged to check out the child care centres and EarlyON centres in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

These centres couldn’t exist without child care workers and early childhood educators (ECEs). These trained and licenced experts provide an essential service to the community in Peel Region, helping young minds develop and thrive through child-centred and play-based learning.

On Oct. 17, Peel Region celebrates Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day. It’s an annual day to thank all early childhood educators and child care workers for the work they do, which allows parents and guardians to know their children are in a stimulating and educational environment.

Peel Region has a number of EarlyON Child and Family Centres. These centres offer free, safe and welcoming spaces for families with children from newborn to 6 years old, where children and families can learn together through programs that support a child’s growth and development. Early childhood professionals are also there to answer questions parents might have about their child’s development.

Parents can find a child care centre or EarlyON centre near them by checking InfoPeel.

Lower fees have recently been implemented for licensed child care to ensure more and more parents can get help with their children, even when money is tight.

Early childhood education plays a very critical role in helping children grow and thrive – research shows that 90% of our brains develop between birth and when we turn five.

“It’s important for children to have access to high-quality early learning environments such as licensed child care and EarlyON programs as this will have long-lasting positive impacts on their educational, social and emotional development,” says Nakiema Palmer, Director of Early Years and Child Care Services at Peel Region.

“Early years professionals play an important role in a child’s development providing safe, responsive, and caring interactions that build a strong foundation for their development and well-being. That’s why we need to appreciate Peel’s early childhood professionals and tell them that we value how they care for our young ones.”

Peel’s early childhood professionals design play-based learning and engaging spaces that support exploration, play and inquiry, all of which have a positive long-term impact on children’s development, well-being, and capacity to learn.

Every year, thousands of parents, caregivers and children benefit from child care through over 48,000 licensed child care spaces and 58 EarlyON sites available in Peel Region. With over 5,600 early childhood professionals in child care and EarlyON programs, Peel has one of Ontario’s largest early childhood workforces. Last year, children and families in Peel visited EarlyON centres approximately 326,000 times!

Local residents Gurdip and Tameka, who have both been helped by early childhood educators, spoke about their positive experience and how it benefitted their families:

How do the professional educators in EarlyON or child care support your family and your child?

Gurdip: They support us in a way that we don’t have to worry about our child being here, they take good care of her. They keep us up to date through the Story Park app, so on a daily basis, we know exactly what our child’s up to.

Tameka: The centre and the individuals who work here have supported my family in all sort of dynamics, emotionally and financially. Emotionally because you know that when we’re here, it’s about the children. Everyone is so positive, everybody’s friendly. It’s very informative to be here because every time I come there is something new, and then you look forward to the next day and the kids get to meet other children and they get to interact.

How did the early childhood professional tailor their support to meet the needs of your child and your family?

Gurdip: They work together and share ideas with us. So, if there’s an input we have, they listen to us, and if they have input for us, we listen to them. We work together as a team to make sure that our child has the best care.

Tameka: If they haven’t seen me in weeks, or months, they would call and say, hey, did you know there’s a new program going on? And I think that’s important because then it makes you feel like they remember you, they appreciate you coming and your presence. So, they tailor support by following up to let you know when there’s trips, to let you know when there’s events.

What are some specific benefits you received from the professionals in the program?

Gurdip: It’s the ongoing learning that my child receives from these professionals. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean that other people cannot teach our kids some better ways of learning.  Parents are parents, but there’s other people there that can help with raising the child.

What’s the most important thing that you and your child learned from the experience?

Tameka: I’ve learned a lot about community connections, because I meet other mothers and staff and they tell me about support and resources that even if I myself don’t need, I can tell a friend. Like for example, I don’t need a food bank, but I can take that information and teach [about health and other] resources to other members who may not attend the program.

What would be different for your child/family without the support of these early childhood professionals?

Gurdip: My child wouldn’t have progressed as quickly at their language and social skills had they stayed at home. The ECEs take time and have patience to help and understand the child’s needs.

Tameka: EarlyON has helped me so much with my child’s development, and I think it would be different if I didn’t have that support. Because there’s times when there’s nobody around to talk to. But then when you come here, if I’m sad, they will come to me and they’re like, hey, how are you? And sometimes you open up and you’re like, he’s not talking, you know, my child’s having some speech delays. I trust these staff because they’re reputable, so that’s helped me a lot and changed my life.

What’s one thing you think other people should know about early childhood professionals?

Tameka: You come in here and they don’t judge you. They’re very professional, they welcome everybody – they treat everybody [in a welcoming way] and they give you the chance to build that rapport.

What do you appreciate most about the early childhood professionals in your life?

Gurdip: They do a phenomenal job, it’s a hard job. I don’t think [just] anyone could do it. But God bless them, kudos to them for doing a sensational job and taking care of not just one kid but multiple kids.

This month, Peel Region is running an extensive campaign to recognize and appreciate early years professionals in Peel. The campaign includes transit ads, a newspaper article, a thank you video, social media posts, digital billboards, digital ads, mobile signage, and information on the Peel Region website.

Peel has also sent out vinyl banners that licensed child care, EarlyON and special needs resourcing providers can proudly display on the exterior of their site, and lawn signs for licensed home child care providers to display at their home to increase awareness of Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day.

For residents looking to become early childhood educators themselves, there’s never been a better time – with so many parents accessing EarlyON and child care, early childhood professionals joining the workforce will have no shortage of job opportunities ahead of them. Peel Region’s website has more information on how to get started.

For more Peel news and updates, follow Peel Region on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies