Early Childhood Development Policies

It is clear that a child’s early experiences and development establish a foundation that will impact school readiness, educational achievement and high school completion which ultimately contribute to employment, income security and health.

Early Childhood Development and Care is an excellent investment for government. Evidence shows early childhood development and early education “can play a key role in reducing risky health behaviors and preventing or delaying the onset of chronic disease in adulthood.” [i]

Quality childcare programs also deliver positive impacts to the family through reduced stress and increased opportunities to pursue employment or education and training, thereby increasing the resilience of the family. In the short term, children who participate in quality early childhood development programs and childcare are provided healthy food choices and physical play in supportive environments.

This health-promoting environment gives children from all backgrounds the opportunity to develop healthy behaviours from positive role models. Quality childcare programs also deliver positive impacts to the family through reduced stress and increased opportunities to pursue employment or education and training, thereby increasing the resilience of the family. With emotional, social and cognitive aptitudes, come the skills for securing material resources and the conditions for a healthier life.

BCAHL recommends the following policy options:

  • Provide comprehensive, quality and affordable early childhood development, parenting, pre-natal health and family wellness services and programs ensuring that priority is given to those neighbourhoods and communities with the highest numbers of vulnerable children.
    • Universal childcare delivered by early childhood educators should be considered as the ultimate goal.
    • Continue to provide more $10 a Day ChildCareBC spaces.
    • Employ the Early Development Instrument – that has been used in school districts across BC to assess the state of children’s development at Kindergarten – to identify priority neighbourhoods for phasing in programs and areas for further expansion in successive waves.
  • Expand the availability of pre and afterschool childcare to meet the needs of working families.
  • Expedite the transition of unlicensed childcare facilities into licensed sites
  • Continue to support Aboriginal Head Start programs in BC for Indigenous children from birth to six years of age.
  • Continue to fund initiatives such as Appetite to Play that increase the capacity of Early Childhood Educators to provide children with physical literacy skills, regular physical activity and healthy food environments.
  • Coordinate the identification of learning and developmental disorders utilizing an integrated approach involving primary care and public health professionals as well as childcare providers and other community resources.
  • Increase training spaces and remuneration for early child educators and childcare workers, providing incentives for people to pursue, stay and value these careers and reduce turn-over.

Subscribe to BCAHL Newsletters

Stay Updated on Health Promotion News