A thank you to Brenda Still and other child care workers who have done so much during the COVID-19 pandemic
On Tuesday May 18, in a Members Statement I thanked Brenda Still and others who work in child care and early childhood education in Manitoba. My remarks, from Hansard, are below.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I honour Brenda Still and all those who work in child care and early childhood education in River Heights and in Manitoba.
COVID‑19 has been an incredible challenge. Indeed, providing services for young children and keeping the virus away from them and from staff has been a challenge far more than most of us can imagine. You can't put plastic shields around kids; you can't effectively use masks, and yet the service that child care and early childhood educators provide is essential in order that so many other essential workers can work, including those in health care, in grocery stores, in emergency services and in transportation, and in so–and so many other occupations. It is a challenge like no other.
There is also joy in spending time with young children. At the same time, it is a challenge to be flexible under constantly changing rules and often without nearly enough support early on when schools were closed and child-care centres were to remain open. It sent shockwaves through the system.
At another point, there were several changes in a single day in what was communicated. Yet, Brenda Still and others working in this area have persevered. And, more than this, Brenda has advocated at a Legislative Assembly committee, written op-eds, and made numerous calls, emails and texts to me, her MLA.
One of these was about the lack of attention in Bill 47 to school-aged children. In this quest, my colleague, the MLA for Tyndall Park, worked with child-care workers and was able to bring forward two critical amendments, which have been accepted by the government and are now part of Bill 47.
Thank you, Brenda, for bringing this to our attention. Thanks to all who work in child care and early childhood education in our province. You are helping raise the next generation. You are helping to ensure the future for all of us.