A Christmas Poem

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ our home,
All the children were sleeping, like I was alone.
The stockings were opened and no presents remained,
Yet a feeling o’ something forgotten, it came;
Our Christmas letter, I’d forgotten to write,
The cards I had chosen aside by the light.
Gah! I jumped up and made a dash for the cards,
Family/friends must think I am a total tard –
What to write, I pondered, for the past year;
Most of what happened would bring a big tear.
Focus on the positive my husband declared;
Not on all else that had dramatically fared.
My mom in a nursing home all safe and snug,
As a great big bug wrapped in a rug;
End stage COPD has nothing on her there,
All her meals and meds are safely prepared.
Both my wonderful boys are in good health,
I couldn’t ask for anything more ‘cept for wealth.
But I’m wealthy beyond what most people have,
I’ve a family, a job, a vehicle and a “pad.”
My hubby’s chemo treatments are making him well,
It’s not like he’s locked up in a prison cell.
From the nausea, he’s lost his excess weight,
With the new treatments, he’s feeling remarkably great.
My job, at SaskTel, I returned – in July
After a great vacation t’would bring a tear to your eye.
We took 3 weeks between J’s surgery & my work
We might have gone a little beserk.
Packed up the van and drove to BC,
Goodness, an awful lot we did see,
Rode a ferry, water slides, amusement park rides,
We even got to walk a little in the tide.
We enjoyed it a lot and want to do it again,
Maybe next time it will be upon the holiday train,
That way we can relax and as we drive out of sight –
Holler Happy Solstice. Now I bid you good night.

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National Daycare Program

If I could establish a National Daycare Program, this is what I would propose:

  • Remove a level of government from the process – make daycare a federal issue.  Thus reducing cost and finger pointing.
  • Establish universal rules and regulations that apply to all provinces and all types of daycares – home / centers & for-profit / non-profit.  Thus making it an even playing field for all.
  • Make all rules and regulations reasonable.  There is no logical reason I can think of to set a cap on the number of spots in a daycare if the staff and space is available. (In Saskatchewan, there is a cap of 90 spots per facility; you can have more than 1 facility in a building but they have to have separate space, staff, etc.)
  • Establish criteria for all daycare workers that is fair and removes barriers.
  • Commit to establishing, and funding, a certain number of new spots every year as demand requires.  Thus making more spots available as the population increases.
  • Commit to adequate public funding so that daycares can pay a living wage to all workers.
  • Commit to adequate public funding so that quality, licensed daycare is affordable to all.
  • Work with organizations who wish to establish daycares to “cut through the red tape.”  Thus enabling new centers to open without a run around.

Before And After Care

For those who work 8 – 5 M-F and have school age children at home, finding before and after childcare can be a challenge.  Children go to school from 9 to 3:30, or in my case, 9:17 – 3:22.  And I work 8 – 5.  Someone has to be with my child from 8 – 9:17 and 3:22 – 5.

Children have to be in someone’s care until they are around 11 years old.  They start school around age 5.

Finding daycare for only 3 hours a day (and a split 3 hours) is hard.  Having a child part time in a childcare center ties up a space that could be used for a full day.

And the fees associated with before and after care can range from $300 – $550/month.  Again, because it uses a full space, some daycare centers have no alternative but to charge the full fee.

Many schools do not have a program within the school.  I think all schools should offer this.  Even if I had to pay for it.

Universal Child Care Benefit (UCTB)

Back in 2006 just before Stephen Harper was elected, Canada was on its way to having a national childcare program under Paul Martin’s Liberal Party.

This dream was crushed when Stephen Harper was elected.  He scrapped the policy and replaced it with a Universal Child Care Benefit (UCTB):  $100/month to help with daycare costs – for children under 6.

The conservatives touted that child care decisions are best left in the hands of mom and dad.  That’s a cop out.

First, this benefit is taxable leaving less in the hands of the families.

Second, the amount of UCTB is a joke.  It is a pittance because daycare costs way more than $100/month – it averages $500 – $2000 / month depending on the province and if the daycare is for-profit or non-profit.

Third, even if we had a federal cap on “affordable” daycare at $10 – $15 /day, the UCTB would not cover it!

Fourth and finally, why only until the children are 6?  What, children 7 and up don’t require daycare?  Last time I checked, the recommended age to leave children alone (in SK at least) was 11.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party has since increased the UCTB; however, it still not adequate.  It would almost cover an “affordable” daycare program.  But it does not address any of the other concerns.  We NEED a national childcare program!

Read more:

Role of Provincial Government in Daycare

Unlike the Federal government, the Provincial government plays a major role in child care.

 

 

The Ministry of Education dictates all things daycare center wise.  Public funding (set up and ongoing), subsidies, staff to children ratios, age groupings, type of child care, licensed vs unlicensed (i.e. private home daycares), green space, window space, furnishing, washroom spaces, administration, staff requirements, supervision, health and safety; you name it, they cover it.  Except cost.  They do not dictate cost.

The Provincial government, currently, has a major role in daycare.  Unfortunately, different provinces have different requirements for daycare.  It is my opinion that we need a National Childcare Program that addresses differences in pricing and regulations.

Read more:

http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/C7-31R1.pdf

Role of Federal Government in Daycare

The Federal Government plays a minimal role in child care in Canada: regulated, unregulated, private or public.

Many households today require women to take on jobs.  Because women are also, typically, the primary caregivers for children, families with children who need both parents to work need daycare.  Quality, affordable, licensed daycare.

What is the government’s role in establishing and funding these necessary daycare spots?

“Since 2001, the federal government has transferred funding to the provinces and territories to allow them to support early childhood programs and services, first through the Early Childhood Development initiative and more recently through a 2003 federal/provincial/ territorial funding arrangement known as the Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care.” – http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/prb0418-e.htm

In other words, the Federal government has passed on this responsibility to the provinces.

 

Cost is a huge factor with regards to child care.  Without subsidized spaces, daycare becomes a barrier for many low and middle income families.

Public funding for childcare does not require that the daycare centers be run by the government, simply that the daycare needs to be funded using tax dollars.

 

 

 

 

The Federal government, currently, has a limited role in childcare.  It is my opinion that we need a National Childcare Program that addresses differences in pricing and regulations.

For Profit Daycare Centers

Many people do not know that childcare center fees barely cover the costs of daycare.

According to the Ministry of Education, there are no for profit daycare centers licensed in Saskatchewan.  Part of this might be the fact that Saskatchewan does not allow for profit daycares to access grants and subsidies like other provinces like Alberta and Ontario do.

Non-profit centers require a board of directors composed, for the majority, by parents (a minimum of 51%).  They can make money, however, the funds are used to further the center.  Non-profit centers are not automatically registered charities, however, they can become registered.  Totally Kids Daycare Inc. is a registered charity.

If you venture to other provinces, you will find for-profit centers.  The only way you will know where your fees are going is if you look at their financial records or if you ask.  For-profit centers rely on parent fees and/or corporate sponsorship only to operate.  Their fees are usually higher.  Any excess revenue can be kept by the owner or stakeholders.

Read more:

http://www.childcare.net/library/profitnon.shtml

http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/prb0418-e.htm

Establishing Community in a Daycare

I think it is important to establishing a community environment at a centre.  Why?  It makes the daycare more inviting.  It makes it warm and welcoming for the children and the staff.

Everyone belongs in a community.  They all contribute something…whether that’s a smile, a helping hand, or a sense of excitement.  They are connected, to the staff, to the other children, to the environment.

Being part of a community is not a physical thing.  It is emotional.  It is a feeling.  It starts with the staff establishing guidelines for everyone.  It starts with routine; a structure to make it through the day.  A schedule of activities, if you will, so that children know what will happen next.

It continues with trust.  Children must be able to trust their caregivers and feel safe.  This can be as simple as connecting with children on their level.

It can’t be forced. Children know when something is bugging you.  They pick up on emotions whether you want them to or not.

Everyone belongs.  Everyone works together and is connected.  Cooperative play.  This can be structured or unstructured but it needs to be something that engages everyone.

Rules, guidelines, and/or expectations are a must.  Ask the children.  See what they think is important and make a list.

Learn to breath and teach the children the same thing.  Stop and reflect on your day.  Appreciate the moment.  Be mindful.

By promoting community within the daycare setting, you will, inadvertently promote it within life.  And that’s a good thing.

Read more:

http://www.teachpreschool.org/2013/09/tips-for-building-a-sense-of-community-in-the-preschool-classroom/

Certified Staff

In Saskatchewan, staff that work part time or full time at daycare centers have to hold their Early Childhood Education certificate – Level I, II, or III.  The program costs around $7500.  Staff who work casually at daycares do not need certification.  Furthermore, there are a specific number of Level I, II, and III staff required on at any point in time.

When my daughter graduated from welding at SIAST a couple years ago, there were only 6 students graduating from the ECE program.  Even if we manage to open a center, we will have the challenge of hiring qualified staff.

Staff at home daycare centers, do not require this certificate.  There are no regulations about activities that  can or cannot be done in home daycares.

Parents do not require any education.  Anyone can have a child.  The only way a child is taken away from a parent is if Social Services intervenes.

I am curious why we need to have certified staff talking care of our children at daycare centers but no where else.  Another challenge facing setting up a daycare center.

The Need for Daycare

Did you know that only 20% of kids have access to quality, licenced childcare (i.e. daycare centers).  There are home daycares available but you have to be careful with these as they do not have the same standards as daycare centers.

Waiting lists in Regina for infant spots range from 200-300.  The length of these lists gets shorter as the child gets older.

Parents only get 12 months, maximum of maternity leave.  However, infant spots (0-18 months) are the hardest to get.  If the government wants people to go back to work at 12 months, they need to find some way to make these spots available, not to mention cheaper.  Cost will be another topic.