ECEs as Childcare Advocates: Examining the Scope of Childcare Advocacy Carried Out by ECEs From the Perspective of Childcare Movement Actors in Ontario and Manitoba
This paper examines the commonly held notion that early childhood educators (ECEs) “don’t make good advocates.” While most childcare advocates interviewed in this qualitative study disagreed with this blanket statement, informants had reservations about the scope of advocacy in which ECEs could and should engage. They made clear distinctions between “silent,” “small a,” and “big A”—or micro/meso/macro level—advocacy. Furthermore, informants from both Manitoba and Ontario appear to suggest that ECEs are best suited, able, and willing to carry out “small a” advocacy (though there was some variation in this finding by province). Guided by the political economy of care, this paper critically examines the etiology and sociopolitical consequences of advocacy carried out by ECEs primarily at the micro level. Insights into how ECEs may be able to expand the scope of advocacy beyond the micro level without compromising or undermining their professional identity are explored.