Provincial budget cuts from 2013 led to Red Deer College cutting its early learning and childcare diploma, but many local early childhood educators are hoping the college will reconsider its plan.
Ella Brekke, an early childhood educator, and a committee of colleagues are behind a petition to reinstate the program they believe is important for both children and those who educate them at an early age.
When the announcement was made there was disbelief that the program had been axed.
“We know the importance of our programs for young children, and the importance of staff to be well educated,” said Brekke in an email.
“With all the research being done by the Early Childhood Mapping Project, the Early Years Study 3, the report by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Let’s Talk About the Early Years Early Childhood Development), the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and Alberta’s Children’s Mental Health, it is a shock that such an important post secondary program would be suspended.”
They are behind a petition to get the diploma program back at the college. The petition on www.change.org has more than 300 signatures, as well as numerous physical signatures the committee has collected.
While eliminating the diploma program, the college did keep the early learning and childcare certificate program it had. The certificate program is a one-year course whereas the diploma offered a second year and further education.
Brekke said students learned many skills in that second year including how to plan a developmentally appropriate curriculum, develop and understand individual program plans for children with exceptionalities, and how to work in the different styles of programs available for parents and children in the community.
The second-year practicum gave students 500 hours of working and learning time. The diploma program was offered to students who completed the certificate and wanted to further their studies.
No new cuts were made to RDC’s programming after the 2014 budget.