On August 18th, Jim Grieve, Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Education, issued EL10. The memo pertains to the proclamation of outstanding legislative amendments under the Act (Bill 242) that came into effect August 16th and to further regulatory provisions that have been filed.
This blog entry reflect the technical content of EL10. Notwithstanding this, there are a number of issues raised that may be of significance to those in the field of early learning and care.
Proclamation of Section 21
Section 21, which pertains to the reporting between boards and the College of Early Childhood Educators, was exempted from the proclamation of the Full Day Early Learning Statue Law Amendment Act, 2010 in June and has come into force on August 16th. As a result boards must report investigations into professional misconduct by registered early childhood educators, to the College of Early Childhood educators. The same reporting requirement exists between boards and the Ontario College of Teacher's in regards to teacher's conduct.
Section 21 also grants authority to the government regarding performance appraisal and induction of early childhood educators. This is pending development of a provincial framework for appraisal and induction. In the interim boards may use their discretion in this matter.
This demonstrates equity between the way in which registered early child educators and certified teachers will be treated with respect to disciplinary procedures.
There continues to be considerable discussion about whether the intent of Bill 242 – that registered early childhood educators and certified teachers will have equally important roles within the classroom – will be manifest in reality. This is further evidence of a commitment to equity.
It will be interesting to observe the development of a provincially directed performance appraisal processes for registered early childhood educators now joining the education sector. It is hoped that if there is to be a province wide standard for R.E.C.E.s, there will also be province wide standards for teachers.
Delegation of Principals duties
As extended care will operate outside of traditional school hours, principals are permitted to delegate the supervision of extended day duties to another person, such as a "registered early childhood educator and persons designated to supervise these positions" (EL10, page 4).
This acknowledges the potential need for an increased early childhood educator presence and/or early childhood managerial staff in the operation of the extended day component of full day early learning.
It also suggests that there may be a place for existing centre supervisors.
Early Childhood Educator Letters of Permission
Under the Act, the Minister of Education is authorized to issue a letter of permission allowing a board to appoint a person who is not a member of the College of Early Childhood educators to a position designated for an early childhood educator. This can only occur when an early childhood educator has not applied to a posted position. Also, individuals appointed under a letter of permission may not hold that position in excess of four years and, if applying for subsequent letters of permission, an individual must be working towards becoming a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators.
Registered early childhood educators are recognized as having specialized skills and abilities that are integral to the success of the full day early learning program. This section recognizes that in some communities there may be too few R.E.C.E.s available to staff all the positions open.
It is important, however, that this option not be used to fill E.C.E. positions with existing board staff who, while they will certainly have other skills and abilities, are not qualified early childhood educators.