I am an early childhood educator. I have worked in the field for 19 years. During that time, I returned to school to upgrade my diploma. I graduated in 2018 with my bachelor’s degree in child and youth study.
Since then, I have been on a repayment assistance plan, unable to pay back my loans, even though I work at a great centre that pays above the wage floor. I do not meet the minimum salary requirements to make payments. This leaves me with debt hanging over my head with a fear each time I reapply that the minimum requirements will change, or I will be denied. If this does happen, I will be living in poverty.
This pandemic has shown that ECEs are essential for daycares to run, so parents can work, and for children to have quality care. I feel it is unfair for us ECEs, who are an important part of children’s development, to be left with debt and the fear of poverty – especially because without us the economy would suffer. I fear this may dissuade future ECEs from working in the field when they are faced with debt and no pension plan.
Pre-primary seems to be the government’s solution, but don’t children under four deserve quality care too?
Early Childhood Educator, Halifax