Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

August 01, 2003

U of G launches project to improve local child care services

The University of Guelph will launch a new project aimed at improving the quality of local child care programs August 8 at 10 a.m. Members of the general public and the media are welcome to attend the event at U of G's Child Care and Learning Centre on the corner of East Ring and Arboretum Roads.

"A Community-wide Approach for Improving and Sustaining High Quality Child Care in Wellington County" is being funded by Wellington County and the Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services.

"This funding is great news," said Donna Lero, Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, who is a co-investigator on this project with family studies professor Kathleen Brophy. "The quality of early childhood education and child care services should be a critical concern for all of us. This project will enable faculty with considerable expertise to work collaboratively with the child care community and others. We will address common concerns, develop creative solutions, and forge new partnerships."

In the 2001 study You Bet I Care, Lero and four other researchers found that child care centres face a shortage of skilled teachers and many are in precarious financial shape. International studies on child care have shown that quality child care programs can have long-term positive impacts on children's cognitive, social and emotional development, said Lero. In other research, Lero and Brophy found that opportunities for children with special needs, further teacher training, and leadership guidance for directors need to be addressed.

"When I started in the child care field more than twenty years ago, there were very few training resources for directors," said Judy Callahan, director of the university's Child Care Learning Centre. "We had to learn on the job, without access to courses specific for child care services. This new project will benefit future and current directors gain access to training specific to their needs."

After Lero and Brophy assess the training and resource needs of child care facilities and review models of community-based support, they plan on implementing a collaborative child care infrastructure for Wellington County. Conducting training workshops, setting up mentorship programs and developing two resource libraries are some of the ways the project plans on improving child care services in Guelph and the county.

"People working in child care across the community are excited to take part in this project," said Teresa McKeeman, director of child care services for the County of Wellington. "We have a lot to gain from this collaborative effort."

Added Lero, "Both the local economy and families will benefit from a county that can boast of high quality child care."

"A Community-wide Approach for Improving and Sustaining High Quality Child Care in Wellington County" is being conducted through the university's Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being. The centre's mission is to use research and teaching expertise to promote individual and family well-being, responsive and productive work environments, and strong, sustainable communities.

Donna Lero
Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work
Research Director, Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being
University of Guelph
(519) 824-4120, ext. 53914 / 53829 or

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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