Childcare Trends for 2024
Happy New Year as we welcome our children, educators, and community back to our purposefully created learning and exploratory environments.
As we embark on a new year, I have had an opportunity to reflect on the upcoming trends in child care for 2024. As leaders in early childhood education, it is important to be aware of future trends, reflect on how we will address what is approaching, and whenever possible, remain ahead of the curve.
I’ve curated a list of key trends that I believe will shape the landscape of childcare in the coming year. I hope that you find one or more of the insights valuable as points to ponder as you plan out the year at your centre. When relevant, I have included a link to the research or article referenced.
Wishing you a healthy, joy-filled, and prosperous 2024!
Shortage of Spaces and Funding Challenges
While the childcare plan has positively influenced workforce participation, there is a growing concern regarding the shortage of childcare spaces across Canada. The TD Economics analysis indicates that commitments to create new spaces are falling short of the rising demand. One key obstacle is the difficulty faced by not-for-profit service providers in accessing private capital for necessary expansions, as highlighted by researcher Gordon Cleveland.
Childcare supervisors need to proactively address this funding gap by writing to the government, while also exploring alternative financing models. Engage with local communities, businesses, and philanthropic organizations in the interim, until additional CWELCC government funding is announced.
To address the funding gap and simultaneously engage with the local community, childcare centre supervisors could consider organizing an annual fundraising gala. This gala could be an opportunity to showcase the centre’s achievements, highlight the positive impact of affordable childcare, and garner support from local businesses, community leaders, and parents.
Collaborative efforts to secure funding can contribute to the expansion of facilities and ensure that the benefits of the $10-a-day childcare plan reach a broader spectrum of families.
Workforce Shortage and Program Viability:
Another critical concern raised by Cleveland is the shortage of early childhood educators, which poses a risk to the success of the CWELCC program.
Sentient understands the challenges posed by the shortage of early child hood educators, which can impact the success of childcare programs. To support you, Sentient is positioned to provide short-term and long-term staffing relief for your centre. We have a dedicated team of over 450 RECEs and Assistants who can fulfill your on-call and planned staffing gaps.
Leveraging Sentient as an operating expense, as our fees will not fall under your staffing line in the budget, you will maximize your supply staff line which allows for greater transparency as to the true shortages and challenges experienced by childcare providers in Ontario. In turn, this may support expedited funding decisions by the government to fill the gap for all staffing needs.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL):
It is important to research and become confident with the tenants of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is emerging as a vital approach for inclusive education, particularly for students with neurodevelopmental delay and disability (NDD). As global educational systems strive for inclusivity, mainstream classrooms increasingly integrate children with NDD. In Ontario, where play-based learning is mandated, a qualitative study explored how kindergarten teachers conceptualize and promote the inclusion of children with NDD in play-based classrooms. The study aligns with the philosophy of the ELECT (Early Learning for Every Child Today) framework used in Ontario. UDL emphasizes diverse means of representation, expression, and engagement and proves essential in fostering community inclusion. Teachers who endorse UDL principles and interventionist perspectives tend to provide proactive support, promoting social participation and addressing concerns of social isolation in play-based learning for children with NDD.