Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has named Charles Pascal today to be his Early Learning Advisor. Promised during the last provincial election, an Early Learning Advisor would inform the province on the development of a full-day “preschool” program. Alternately described as full day Kindergarten and/or an integrated early learning and child care program, the news is being applauded by both the education and child care sectors:
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario supports the appointment as does the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.
Dr. Pascal is currently the Executive Director of the Atkinson Foundation. Given the Atkinson Foundation‘s support for immigration issues, Dr. Pascal will surely recognize the opportunity for immigrant children in a full-day preschool / early learning and child care program and work with the immigration sector to ensure the needs of immigrant parents and children are addressed. Let’s send a letter of congratulations to Dr. Pascal.
“The Agenda”, a TVO program, interviewed Dr. Charles Pascal on December 5, 2007 about his role as the Early Learning Advisor and what “full day learning” in Ontario will look like. After the segment with Dr. Pascal, host Steve Paikin moderated a panel of various folks on the child care issue, including:
– Jane Mercer, Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care
– Gordon Cleveland, UofT economics professor and child care researcher
– Don Giesbrecht, Canadian Child Care Federation
– Kathy Graham, Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario
– Andrea Mrozek, Institute of Marriage and Family .
As someone remarked to me, the separation between the two segments spoke too clearly to the two solitudes of “early learning”, i.e., kindergarten and “child care”. Let’s hope that Dr. Pascal can blend the two together.