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Centennial College launches early childhood education program for Indigenous learners News

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Centennial College, in partnership with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, and Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services, is offering 25 Indigenous applicants an opportunity to become credentialed early childhood educators.

The college, in a recent news release, said the fully funded two-year program will support learners from Toronto and the region of Durham in a culturally affirming environment, and reduce the financial barriers to help them achieve the credentials and career success in the early childhood education (ECE) field.

Centennial College said it will work with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST), as it has during the past five years, alongside Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services to ensure there is an Indigenous worldview, and that Indigenous faculty and field placement sites participate in the training.

“We recognize that it is increasingly difficult to attract candidates in ECE programs, despite the high employment rate,” said Jaspreet Bal, chair of the Child and Family Studies at Centennial, in the news release. “In addition, prospective students sometimes don’t have the resources to pay tuition and find that they have to leave the workforce to attend school full time.”

To that end, the program will utilize a part-time learning format, on evenings and weekends, to reduce financial barriers. Additionally, the funding will provide learners with a grant that will cover the costs of tuition, supplies and support allowances that may total up to approximately $10,000 during the two years of study. Learners will complete courses online and in person, and participate in interactive child-care labs that can be offered both at Centennial College and in other community settings.

The early childhood education — Indigenous stream program is funded in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Region of Durham, the Province of Ontario and government of Canada under the new Canada-Ontario early childhood workforce agreement, which provides one-time federal funding to support the retention and recruitment of a high-quality child care and early years workforce.

Applicants can apply to the program right away. Classes begin in January 2023 and learners will graduate in December 2024 ready to enter the workforce. Program applicants will be required to complete a police check and proof of immunization as per industry regulations.

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