More ECEs needed

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In an effort to encourage more people to choose early childhood education as a career, Chatham-Kent joined a partnership to help raise awareness of the critical role such educators play.

The municipality teamed up with several other municipalities and Edge Factor, an organization that uses the power of storytelling to inspire people to take the first steps down their career journey.

There is a shortage of early childhood educators (ECEs) in the province.

According to a report on the early childhood workforce from 2022, employment in child care dipped by 21 per cent during the pandemic; 62 per cent of child care operators in Canada had to recruit staff in the past two years; and 82 per cent reported having a hard time hiring people with the necessary qualifications.

An Edge Factor film team captured footage of ECEs in action, sharing their career journey insights and skills in Chatham-Kent, Lambton County, Muskoka, and Simcoe County.

As well, in the month of February, grade three to 12 students are invited to create a free Edge Factor account to access all of these career stories and earn a digital badge for their chance to win a GoPro Hero 10.

Officials said it is “a fun, and interactive way to get students excited about their potential future in early childhood education.”

“ECEs hold a uniquely impactful role in our communities,” said Larissa Hofman, vice-president of Edge Factor, in a media release. “They do more than care for our youngest citizens; they shape the minds and hearts of the next generation, laying the foundations of learning, character, and curiosity that propel children toward a lifetime of success.”

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