Barriers and bridges for early childhood educators: Playschool facilitator affirms

Miniature furniture fills a room with a world globe sitting in the foreground.
The Mansons Hall Playschool sits quiet and empty, five days a week. Photo by Loni Taylor
Loni Taylor - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 27-05-2022
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Hannah Schwartzentruber is now the Playschool Facilitator at Mansons Hall.

In a short time in the position, she has already made improvements to childcare accessibility on Cortes by expanding the playschool hours and offering an additional outdoor program. Schwartzentruber has faced barriers that early childhood education (ECE) workers in remote locations can be especially vulnerable to in the province. Since she is one of the only ECE workers on Cortes Island, she lacks a local support system specific to her industry. Luckily, there is helpful infrastructure in BC to support people like Schwartzentruber working in early childhood education, including mentorship and peer support networks that meet over the phone and online on a regular basis.

One resource that Schwartzentruber champions is the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC). She discusses a position paper on “The role of the early childhood educator of BC”. There is a paid membership for ECEBC, which Schwartzentruber notes is “this is incredible connective tissue, information sharing and many workshops themselves are free, as is subscribing to the newsletter and following the Facebook page.”  Lack of affordable housing, low pay, and high-level responsibility attributes to burnout in the job, make a support system invaluable, she added.

Schwartzentruber is a part of the Peer Mentorship Project launched by Laura Doan of Thompson Rivers University. She also recommends Pacific Care, which is the Campbell River division of Childcare Resource and Referral. 

Schwartzentruber discusses creative solutions to how she copes with challenges of working as an early childhood educator in the CKTZ news story below: