High school students who want to get a jump on post-secondary childcare education can start to do so as soon as January.
School Districts 91, 57 (Prince George) and 28 (Quesnel) have been granted a combined 20 seats in CNC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program for high school students in their final semester.
Tracy Cole, SD57’s Principal of Early Learning and Childcare, presented on this topic to the school board at last night’s (Tuesday) meeting.
She said the only role SD57 uses ECEs in is their 15 StrongStart early learning centers.
“In September, when I first started this job, we had three vacancies in our StrongStart program,” Cole recalled. “When we put the postings out, I started to realize how difficult it was to recruit and retain ECEs… by November we did have all of our StrongStart staffed, but as a result our substitute list was depleted.”
To help combat the ECE shortage, School Districts 57, 91, and 28 all applied to the Ministry of Education for spaces in a dual-credit ECE program at CNC.
There are 20 openings for students between the three districts, half of which are allocated to SD57. Cole said if any district in the agreement can’t fill their spaces. the empty spots will be given to another district that can.
The first wave of high school students taking advantage of this program will begin in January, both in person for students locally and online for students in more remote communities.
“By pursuing this, we are helping our senior students pursue careers in an occupation where we really need them, but we are also supporting our youngest learners by providing high-quality childcare,” Cole said.
When asked, Cole predicts all the seats will be filled in this program.
All of the information Cole shared with the board can be found at 18:40 of this video.