Let’s talk about the importance of belonging for those working in early childhood education.
A strong predictor of high-quality childcare is that childcare providers belong to a supportive network, whether formal or informal. This sense of belonging translates into higher levels of satisfaction with their work, more sensitivity to children’s needs and the provision of more stimulating environments for the children in their care.
However, affiliation remains an under-utilized opportunity.
Consider the following:
- About 33 per cent of staff in childcare centres report belonging to a childcare organization;
- About 46per cent of licensed family childcare providers report belonging to a childcare association;
- About 11 per cent of family childcare providers in the unregulated sector report belonging to a childcare association; and
- Only four per cent of providers working in the child’s own home report belonging to a childcare association.
Effective leaders have a responsibility to share what they know with others. Being aware that the early childhood care and education practitioner’s sense of belonging is strongly associated with high-quality childcare is valuable information. Encourage other care providers to join forces and to work towards common goals.
Benefits of Belonging
One of the easiest ways to combine voices is through membership in a childcare organization. When you join a provincial/territorial child care organization that is an affiliate of the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF), you automatically become a member of the CCCF.
Belonging to an association:
- Reduces feelings of isolation by connecting you to a supportive peer network;
- Enhances confidence, abilities and professionalism in the important work of childcare;
- Reinforces links to quality through support of practitioner certification, ethical decision-making and program evaluation;
- Gives access to educational resources, research reports and up-to-date information about current issues in childcare;
- Provides opportunities for ongoing professional development
- Offers opportunities to influence the immediate and long-term future of childcare
By surrounding yourself with others who have similar childcare goals, you have a greater impact than if you work in isolation. There is strength in numbers.
“The high goals I strove for were motivated and supported through membership…” CCCF member
In the face of many issues affecting childcare, there are countless opportunities to be a leader – to make a difference in the lives of children, to increase collaboration among stakeholders, to build a sense of community among stakeholders, to build a sense of community among those who share your interest in the field. Everyone can be a leader, developing and polishing skills to make a positive difference.