Tag Archives: daycare

17,325 kids – 5150 childcare spaces

There are 17,325 kids aged 5 and under in the city I live in, and room for less than 1/3rd of them in child care. That’s the finding of the 2008 Victoria’s Vital Signs report released this week by the Victoria Foundation, a local non-profit group dedicated to strengthening the community in the city I live in.

These number both illustrate and quantify the problem parents are having finding child care in Victoria. I suspect if this type of analysis was done in other regions, the findings would be similar.

Granted, not all of those 17,325 kids are going to require child care. Some will be at home with Mom, Dad or other relatives, usually supported by federal maternity and paternity benefits. But it’s hard to deny that the gap between what is out there and what is needed is significant.

What is even more alarming are these statistics, pulled from a recent PLAY Victoria study.

Within less than a 10 month period (March 2007 to January 2008), our region has witnessed:

  • a decrease of approximately 60 spaces for children aged birth to 5
  • no new Group Child Care (Under 36 Months) centres created
  • a net loss of 9% of Group Child Care spaces for infants and toddlers
  • a decrease of approximately 133 spaces for children aged birth to 12

And while there has been an increase of 53 preschool spaces, the fact that the rest of the numbers are dropping, especially the 9% drop in infant toddler spaces, will added further anxiety to the families currently looking for childcare in Victoria.

“It’s hard to respect a man who is not willing to provide”

Oh my goodness, where do we begin with this? This type of world view is so far out of whack with my own that it is hard to take it serious enough to comment on this point of view. But I’ll give it a shot.

Apparently the preacher in the video, Mark Driscoll, is some kind of rock star amongst the evangelical right. But if you ask me (and others), Driscoll sounds like your typical everyday right wing evangelist who, like all the rest, continually use the word of God to justify and advocate their patriarchal ideals that women do not belong in the workplace and that men are incapable of being caregivers.

A man who does not provide for his family is worse than a non believer?

At home Dads are a case for church discipline?

Having a stay at home Dad in your house is a surefire recipe for divorce?

It’s all crap.

Don’t tell a stay at home Dad that they are living a Peter Pan lifestyle. Stay at home with your kids for a few weeks, Mr. Driscoll. Change the diapers, feed them, care for them when they are sick, shuttle them around to practices, comfort them when they have been hurt. Then come back and tell stay at home Dad’s they are not taking responsibility or providing for my family. Tell them they live a Peter Pan lifestyle.

And since when did “providing for your family” become synonymous with bringing home a pay cheque? Is money the only way a man can “provide” for his family? Sorry, that just does not fly with me. I provide for my family in dozens of ways that are much more valuable than simply bringing home the all mighty buck.

I am also getting tired of hearing the comment that somehow parents who have their kids in daycare are abdicating the responsibility for raising their kids and leaving their kids in the company of “strangers”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the kids started attending daycare both my wife and I made it a priority to get to know the daycare workers, and judging from the level of interaction we have with other parents at the daycare, many other parents make the effort as well. I know which of the Early Childhood Educators have kids, which ones have partners and which ones are single. I know what their hobbies are, what kinds of food/movies/music they like, the sports they play. Everyday we see them, we talk with them. They learn about us, we learn about them. I see them around town. These are not strangers raising our kids. These are people who live in my community. These are my neighbors, not strangers. To call them strangers is an insult.

Via At Home Dad.

Report recommends extending parental leave to 2.5 years

A panel appointed by the Conservative Harper government to find ways of improving access to child care is recommending that Employment Insurance benefits for new parents should be increased from the current 50 weeks to 18 months and eventually to 2½ years.

What is really exciting for Dads is that the report recommends that the benefit be extended to both parents. With the current 50 weeks, parents can split the time with one or the other taking it. With the new recommendations, both parents would be eligible for the full time available. Imagine. Both parents at home for 2½ years with their kids.

What a fantastic idea for our society to be able to give parents the financial ability to stay at home longer with their kids during those very important formative years, and still be able to transition back into the workforce.

There is also a recommendation that employers “top up” EI benefits to remove financial pressure on parents to return to work.

The government commissioned this report to find ways to ease the childcare crunch in Canada where demand for infant spaces far exceeds available spaces. Nice to see some acknowledgment from the feds that there is a shortage of high quality care in Canada and that this is probably the biggest issue facing working families in this country.

I urge every Canadian reader of this blog to email their MP and give full support to this report. Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg says he is in no hurry to act on these recommendations, so some public support would go a long way to keeping this report from being shelved.

From the April 16th, 2007 Globe and Mail.

Dear Stephen Harper. Thanks for the $100 $73. Now where do I spend it?

We attended our first family protest yesterday for an issue that directly affects our children – the lack of quality childcare in Canada.

In a nutshell, the federal government has decided that their childcare strategy consists of giving parents $100 a month (taxable, which is why it really works out to around $73 per month) to spend with as they wish on childcare under the guise that this will offer families “more freedom of childcare choice”.

It’s a crock, and here’s why. Continue reading

Social Aggression

For me, September has always been about transition and that seems to be holding true this year as The Girl begins preschool.

Friday was day one and I had the opportunity to sit with her for a few hours on her first day. It was tough for her, as to be expected, but not as tough as it could have been. Being that I still work p/t outside of the home and am only a p/t SAHD, The Girl has been going to daycare a couple of days a week -a daycare that is affiliated with her new preschool. The two facilities are a few blocks from each other and the daycare kids often go on field trips to “the big centre” to prepare them for the transition. Additionally, a few of her chums from the daycare have “graduated” to the big center, so the place is not without familiar faces. But still, it has been a transition nonetheless, and transition is not an easy thing when you are just shy of 3.

For me, the biggest shock on the first day was seeing just how big the kids are. The difference between The Girl and some of the 4 and 5 year olds was disconcerting, especially when I witnessed first hand some of the bigger girls already practicing the politics of exclusion and other socially aggressive tactics.

The Girl and I went downstairs where the kids have some space to run around and engage in physical play. A group of older girls were dressing up and pretending they were Princesses – fun and fairly innocuous until another girl tried to join in. The small group of girls told the newcomer that she couldn’t play with them – only Princesses were allowed to play with them. Fortunately, a staff member was right there and moved in to intervene, telling the girls that all the kids at the center are friends and that all the kids can play with whomever they want. The big girls immediately backed down and everyone did start playing happily together, but it makes me nervous to think my little girl is about to enter into a massively different world.

Later that night, perfectly on cue, I open my inbox to find the latest issue of Pediatrics for Parents, a newsletter I have just begun subscribing to. One of the articles was entitled Mean girls: social aggressiveness is mainly determined by children’s environment. I was a great and sobering read and brought back a lot of childhood issues for me.

As a boy, I was a fat kid and did face my share of exclusion, teasing and bullying. It was devastating and, even though it was 30+ years ago, I still occasionally find myself feeling like the fat little kid on the playground. I have a sneaking suspicion that what I experienced is only a fraction of the social aggressiveness my daughter may experience in her life simply by virtue of the fact that she is a girl and that frightens me.

I do take solace in the fact that the teachers at the preschool are very aware of social aggression and are on top of nipping it in the bud when it occurs. And I feel confident that we are raising a strong girl who won’t rely on external validation to fuel her self-esteem. But I still worry a bit more when I send her on her way in the morning than I did when she was heading off to daycare with the other 2 year olds, full of hugs and love for everyone.