Letter to the editor: Not Glorified Babysitters

This letter to the editor, by Michelle Lohnes, was published in the Chronicle Herald on June 16, 2018. Michelle is an early learning educator and a CUPE member.


As an early childhood educator with over 20 years of experience, it saddens me to see what’s happening in our sector. Since the Liberals introduced the first pre-primary program last year, the message delivered to the public is that only schools provide quality early childhood education. There are numerous early learning centres across this province that have been delivering high-quality ECE programs for decades. They follow curriculum guidelines and are staffed with well-educated ECEs who have the same qualifications as their counterparts working in public schools.

Recently, the deputy minister announced the need for wrap-around care for the pre-primary programs. Government officials have approached centres, asking them to provide before- and after-school care. They are calling this “book end” care. I have invested many years of education and professional development in my profession, and I have never provided “book end” care. I have specialized knowledge and training specific to early growth and development, and it’s insulting to have Education Department staff refer to my work in this way.

I’d like to clarify to the public that this type of information is misleading and it continues to perpetuate the stereotype that ECEs who have made the choice to stay in centres are glorified babysitters. We are doing the same job that’s being done in the schools and our work is not inferior.

Michelle Lohnes, Halifax