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Early Childhood Community Development Centre
About the Project
About the Project


WELCOME TO MENTORING PAIRS FOR CHILD CARE!

MPCC Brochure 2009
Program Overview
Participating Communities Phase 1, 2009
Participating Communities Phase 2, 2010
MPCC Final Outcome Report May, 2011
New! Mentoring Brochure, a collaborative product of the Phase 2 Niagara MPCC group and the ECCDC

Mentoring Pairs for Child Care
 was a province-wide program that enhanced child care quality by matching more experienced child care supervisors with less experienced child care supervisors in their own communities. It was funded by the Government of Ontario and managed by the Early Childhood Community Development Centre (ECCDC). The ECCDC is a Niagara-based, charitable organization that has successfully coordinated research and other projects for all levels of government.

Mentoring Pairs for Child Care enhanced the quality of care in Ontario's licensed child care centres, by expanding child care supervisors' knowledge of and application of the Human Resources Sector Council's Occupational Standards for Child Care Administrators. Using a proven process of group learning, guided communication, site visits and one-on-one coaching and interaction, Mentoring Pairs for Child Care offered both mentors and mentees the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Occupational Standards for their profession and develop their personal capacity for excellence in child care administration.

In addition to the benefits of this one-on-one mentoring relationship, Mentoring Pairs for Child Care offered both mentors and mentees many additional networking, professional development and recognition opportunities. Both mentors and mentees gained skill sets that allowed them to accelerate their careers and achieve higher levels of job satisfaction.

How much did it cost to participate?
Funding from MCYS meant that there was no cost to mentors, mentees or their employers related to participating in Mentoring Pairs for Child Care. In fact, mentors, mentees and their employers all received honorariums in recognition of their commitment to the betterment of child care services in Ontario.

Mentors and their employers each received $750.00 for completing the full twelve-month program. Mentees received $500.00 and their employers received $550.00. These honorariums helped offset incidental expenses mentors or mentees may have incurred while participating in the program. The honorariums for employers helped offset backfill staff expenses for the times when a mentor or mentee was away from work due to her/his participation in the program.

How did one know if Mentoring Pairs for Child Care was right for them?
For those who love the field of Early Childhood Education and wanted to help promote and advance this very rewarding, but often undervalued profession, participating was an ideal way to leave one's mark. Whether selected as a mentor or a mentee, one's contribution of time and expertise will benefit Ontario's children, families and Early Childhood Educators for many generations to come.

If one was interested in becoming a MENTEE, how did they know for sure?
Do you often find yourself saying, "there must be a better way to do this"? Being employed as a child care supervisor, and in the position for less than five years, and sometimes feeling overwhelmed by workplace responsibilities, becoming a mentee gave practical solutions to everyday challenges. It was a way to quickly improve one's child care supervisor skills and level of administrative competence.

If one was interested in becoming a MENTOR, how did they know for sure?
Does your program exemplify best practices? Employed as a child care supervisor for five years or more? Do you feel competent, confident and able to meet the expectations of your role? If you answered "yes" to these questions and wanted to enhance your sense of career satisfaction by passing along some of what you've learned over the years, you would have been an ideal mentor.

What was the commitment as a mentor or mentee?
The Mentoring Pairs For Child Care program took one year to complete. It involved five main components.

1.   Participation in the Skills Development Training Sessions.
Both mentors and mentees participated in three days of training in January. Topics covered include:

  • Orientation to Mentoring Pairs for Child Care
  • Ethical practice
  • Leadership
  • Reflective practice
  • Adult development
  • Communication

Mentors also took part in a fourth day of training on Facilitation and Coaching Skills.

2.   Participation in monthly Occupational Standards Study Groups

  • Each session was three hours in length and included all community mentors and mentees
  • Sessions were facilitated by a specially trained animator
  • Examples of topics covered included: Human Resources, Finances, Facilities Management, Child Development and Care, Governance, Family and Community Relations, and Information Technology
  • At these study sessions, participants reviewed materials on the selected topic using a variety of facilitated methods, shared lessons learned and successes from the previous month and planned for the upcoming month's activities.

3.  Site Visits

  • Members of each mentor/mentee pair visited each other’s and/or other learning and care workplaces, at least once monthly, to observe best practices, materials and skills in action. They also implemented plans and practiced skills identified in the monthly Occupational Standards Study Groups.
  • Site visits began in February and concluded in December each year. They were conducted weekly, biweekly or monthly depending on the specific needs of the mentoring pair.

4.  Ongoing Communication with Mentoring Partner

  • Ongoing one-to-one communication between mentor and mentee is vital, and provided time to reflect, problem-solve and set goals for professional development and enhancing practice.
  • The pairs dialogued and reflected on daily practice and identified priorities and strategies for improving performance.
  • This communication was in person, by phone or by email and, in combination with site visits was expected to take between 8-10 hours monthly.
5.  Participation in the Evaluation of Program
  • Participating Supervisors were asked to complete online surveys or questionnaires, or participate in pre and post program on-site observations using standardized tools such as the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales, Program Administration Scale, and Caregiver Interaction Scale.

What was the commitment of child care employers?
Employers that gave consent to their child care supervisor to participate in Mentoring Pairs For Child Care agreed to:

  • Release their Mentee child care supervisors with full compensation to participate in three days of Skills Development training in January  OR
  • Release their Mentor child care supervisors  with full compensation to participate in four days of Skills Development training in January AND
  • Release their child care supervisor from February to December if needed, to engage in monthly study groups, pair conferencing and/or site visits.
  • Participate in the evaluation of  Mentoring Pairs for Child Care  by agreeing to, and supporting, pre and post program on-site observations using standardized tools such as Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales, Program Administration Scale, and Caregiver Interaction Scale.
  • Have an understanding of, and commitment to, the Day Nurseries Act, Occupational Standards of Practice, and an overall commitment to quality and willingness to support the application of knowledge gained through the program at the centre.
NOTE: Any information provided was treated as confidential and used in an aggregate form only, that is, as a profile of the total mentor or mentee average scores for a cohort or a combined group of cohorts. This data was used to inform the actual mentoring process and report on the Mentoring Project.  In the future, the aggregate data may be used to inform the planning and development of workforce training and for reporting more generally on sector human resources issues.

Applicant Checklist--Mentor
To have been considered for participation as a Mentor, one must have met the following criteria:

  • Employed as a supervisor of a licensed child care centre as defined in the Day Nurseries Act (DNA).
  • The centre must have been located in one of the participating communities.
  • The centre must have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to the Day Nurseries Act, Occupational Standards of Practice, and an overall commitment to quality.
  • The centre must have had a regular license, meeting all licensing requirements under the Day Nurseries Act on the day of the inspection.
  • The centre's owner or board of directors must have approved of participation in the program.
  • Five or more years experience working as a licensed child care supervisor in one or more licensed child care programs.
  • Required knowledge, skills, and abilities to competently perform child care supervisor tasks, as outlined in the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council's (CCHRSC) Occupational Standards for Child Care Administrators
  • Demonstrated commitment to ongoing professional development.
  • Possessed an Early Childhood Education Diploma or Letter of Equivalency.
  • Strong coaching and communication skills.
  • A strong desire to support the growth and development of less experienced supervisors and a commitment to the mentoring process.

Applicant Checklist--Mentee

  • Employed as a supervisor of a licensed child care centre as defined in the Day Nurseries Act(DNA).
  • The centre must have been be located in one of the participating communities.
  • The centre's owner or board of directors must have approved of participation in the program.
  • Less than five years of experience working as a supervisor in one or more licensed child care centres, as defined by the DNA.
  • Possessed an Early Childhood Education Diploma or Letter of Equivalency.
  • Sometimes felt overwhelmed at work and wanted to improve and/or acquire the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for competent supervisor practice through a mentoring process.

How did one apply?
By completing our simple online application form. Participants required permission from their employers to participate in the program.

Did a participant get to pick their mentoring partner?
Each mentoring partner was assigned based on geographical location and a thorough examination of both of parties' strengths and needs and learning/teaching styles. The matching process customized for use by Mentoring Pairs for Child Care has been used in other provinces since 1994, when it was developed for the Partners in Practice Child Care Mentoring Project.  In some circumstances, special matching needs were accommodated.

How soon did applicatns know they were accepted into the program?
Applications opened September 1st and closed October 31st. Applicants were notified by mid-November.

What happens if one was not accepted into the program?
Contact information is kept on file for at least one year and applicants were contacted if a spot became available or the program is offered in their area again in the future. There were a variety of factors involved, including a limited number of available spaces for mentors and mentees, geographical location, budgetary constraints, etc. Not being selected was not a reflection of the value of one's qualifications. We wish we could have taken everybody who wanted to participate!

Where can I get more information?
If you have specific questions about the Mentoring Pairs for Child Care program and/or are interested in bringing the program to your area, please contact the ECCDC's Executive Director, Lorrey Arial Bonilla at 905-646-7311 ext. 321 or larial@eccdc.org

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