All of the teachers look forward to working with ECE-trained staff. Some have already had that opportunity. Six years ago Jane Vienneau had an assistant who was studying ECE. “She had worked in child care for many years and came with a wealth of knowledge.” She hopes that the addition of an early childhood educator will also provide more flexibility in the kindergarten classroom and in how teachers work with students.
When she was teaching a full-day everyday kindergarten, Cindy Lum also had an assistant who was taking ECE training. “We worked together as a team; it worked very well,” Lum recalls. Suzanne Mercier took ECE training before going to university to get her teaching credentials, and later a master’s degree. The knowledge that ECE staff bring will be beneficial for children, she says. But there is no doubt in her mind that an ECE working alone would not be able to fill a teacher’s role.
Many issues will need to be resolved as the new program unfolds. The teachers interviewed for this article all have a number of additional qualification courses in their repertoire. ETFO has taken the lead in providing members who want to work with young children opportunities to enhance their professional knowledge. The website “A Thousand Moments of Learning” (http://1000moments.net) was created specifically for kindergarten teachers. ETFO is also offering the Kindergarten AQ course. For more information visit etfo-aq.ca or go to etfo.ca >Professional Development >AQ Courses.