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Session Proposal: Seniors for childcare

“As I walk my son past the care home around the corner, the faces of the residents *light up* as soon as they spot him. Many lovely seniors would play peek-a-boo all day if we had the time.

Meanwhile, there is a serious daycare shortage in Vancouver. The closest to our home is anticipated to be full for more than two years and will not even keep a wait list. There is absolutely no availability for his age group for full-time or even part-time daycare in the CoV.”

Could we partner senior care (demand quickly rising) with junior care to more effectively meet demands, increase sense of community, quality of life, early childhood education, etc etc?

What ideas will you bring? Submit a topic of discussion.

image courtesy of melfoody via Flickr licenced through creative commons

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Planet Protector Academy

Sion Lanini will be pitching a discussion that asks,

Planet Protector Academy is a digital interactive classroom experience that trains kids as ‘apprentice’ Planet Protectors to lead pro-environmental behaviour change in their families. The first program ‘Keep Cool’ focuses on Climate Change and has engaged over 4,500 kids and their families, with 65% of parents now driving less!

We’re looking to re-develop the platform so that it can be customized and applied to lots of different social and environmental issues. The superhero storyline and behaviour change methodology is already attracting interest from a range of organizations working on zero waste, water conservation, aboriginal issues, anti-racism work etc.

Child Care

Topic submitted by Tom for Vancouver ChangCamp 2011

Child care is at at the heart of Vancouver. Without loving child care that meets the needs of children and families, the city’s economy could not function and our children would neither survive nor thrive.

This goes beyond issues related to the provision of child care programs, such as expanding spaces at daycare centres and or supporting the provision of care through nannies and family child care providers. In fact, anyone who cares for a child is a child care worker. Most child care is actually unpaid work, as most care is provided by moms, dads, grandparents, neighbours, and friends. And this work is not only unpaid, but it’s also unrecognized and unsupported.

As members of the community, children depend on others to care for them. And as members of the community children also experience the same pressures faced by many adults in the city. This issues include sky-rockecting housing prices, longer and more tiresome commutes, a decline in social spending, increases in economic insecurity, and widening income inequality.

While most children may not recognize or directly face these pressures, children do feel the pressures in the form of less time with care providers, in the lack of quality child care options for families, in stress, in a lack of supports, and in missed educational experiences.

Child care as a city is about how we choose to relate to the youngest members of our community. A whole range of issues intersect with child care, from the future of the planet, to the realization of full potential through early education programs, to pressures and insecurities placed on families. Will we treat children as invisible and silenced members of our community, or recognize and respect children as equally worthy members of the community?

Additionally, child care connects with issues involving adults – especially in terms of gender equity and respect for workers. Lack of affordable, accessible and high quality child care creates barriers for women trying to make ends meet. The low-wage workforce of daycare providers, early childhood educators, nannies, and family care providers is almost entirely composed of immigrant women, who are excluded from economic opportunity in large part because the work they do is considered as “women’s work” and therefore not worthy of adequate or fair wages and resources.

So what are we, as city, prepared to do together with children? Are we prepared to recognize children as members of the community, to include and involve children in decisions that affect children’s lives? Are we prepared to prioritize children’s well-being? Are we going to provide supports for families and ensure that all child care workers are treated with the respect they deserve?