→ Government has supported some degree of consultation with early-childhood educators, which educators hope will make a difference to planning for caring for and educating young children on the Island. However, consultation has been on limited terms. Last year, government made decisions about moving kindergarten into the public system and about school entry age changes with no consultation with the early childhood care and education sector. This year’s consultation processes are not open to changing these decisions; only to acting on them.
↗ The Public Kindergarten Commissioner, Pat Mella, and the Department, have consulted with key community groups and the Department has funded a study to allow these groups to examine the impact of the move of kindergarten into the public school system. Their results so far show a lot of concern and insecurity among early childhood centre educators and owners, a priority concern for government to address without delay.
→ What is most important is what happens next. It will be absolutely essential for government to act very swiftly on the recommendations of the Public Kindergarten Commissioner’s report. Recent rural school closures will now have additional significant impacts on planning for kindergartens to move into public schools. Early Childhood Educators, public school districts, and parents of young children (especially parents of four-year-olds) all must know as soon as possible where and how kindergartens are going to be operated as of September 2010. The implications are important for childcare centres, schools, and families, and any delay or hesitation will make the transition all the more difficult. Time is already short.
This is an excerpt from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women 2009 Equality Report Card for PEI, released in June 2009 and based on information updated to May 30, 2009.