Daycare workers welcome increased funding to early intervention

Program review admits challenges, aims for improved early intervention

 

Review of Early Intervention Programs in Nova Scotia. Photo: Dylan McAteer
Review of Early Intervention Programs in Nova Scotia. Photo: Dylan McAteer

Rachael Daw is the parent of a toddler and the former owner of a daycare in Halifax. She says the higher salaries for early interventionists will make them feel more appreciated in the important work they do. 

The Nova Scotia government announced yesterday it will be hiring more early interventionists and will eventually pay them more in an attempt to cut down the waitlists for children with early intervention needs.

Daw says the early interventionists she worked with at the centre made a big difference in the lives of the children. 

“Not just for the child/children but for the parents as well,” Daw said. “They need just as much support and encouragement in helping their child through life.”

The Nova Scotia Department of Education announced changes to their early intervention programs Tuesday. The department admitted to challenges with the programs, which help developmentally delayed children from the time they are born until they start school.

More than 300 children are on waitlists for early intervention programs across the province. Education Minister Karen Casey says hiring these new early interventionists, which is set to happen immediately, is just the beginning.

 

Daw says interventionists not only help the children and their families, but the daycare workers as well. 

“The extra support and encouragement needed for every individual child doesn’t just help them grow but helps you grow as an early childhood education worker.”

The review says that the salaries of early intervention workers are low compared to other professionals doing similar work. Early childhood educators have the lowest average salaries in the country, according to a 2013 report by Child Care Human Resources Sector Council. The average salary of an early childhood educator is $12.84 per hour in Nova Scotia — $3.66 per hour less than the national average of $16.50.

The Department of Education says it will provide funding to increase the salaries of early intervention workers and will work to ensure that early intervention is seen as a “respected profession” and is “compensated accordingly” in Nova Scotia.

 

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