Executive Director letter – Canada Wide Early Learning Child Care program (CWELCC)
October 18, 2022
Dear MA Toddler and Casa Parents,
Thank you for your patience as we’ve spent many months poring over the ever-changing documentation, policies and guidelines for the Canada Wide Early Learning Child Care program (CWELCC). As a school, with unanimous support from our Board of Governors, we will not be opting-in to the CWELCC program due to the risks it poses to the sustainability of our entire Montessori program. We realize families will respond differently to this strategic decision.
Our Commitment to World-Class Montessori Education
For 55 years we have served the City of London as a world-class Montessori school. We have always been a school first, with licensed Toddler and Casa classrooms, because licensing is a regulatory requirement. When political and regulatory changes that challenge our school model have come into effect in the past, we’ve made difficult but necessary decisions to ensure the integrity of our accredited Montessori offering. Our decision regarding the CWELCC program is no different. We are not a child care centre. We are a school and, as such, the CWELCC program is not compatible with how we operate and function.
The City of London has shared all that they know about the program to this point. However, the information provided is relevant only until December 31, 2022. Currently no one knows what the CWELCC program will look like next year, nor the years following, or how it will eventually achieve the expected daily fee of $10 – $12. It would be fiscally irresponsible to enter into an annual agreement that only sees two months into the future, especially when planning for the upcoming school year, happens more than a year in advance.
Our students usually begin their Montessori journey at an early age, and their evolution through each level on that journey is critical to their experience, development and success. The CWELCC funding model poses a risk to our Elementary program given the potential loss of students and families willing to commit to Montessori education beyond Toddler and Casa, and could have a significant and disruptive effect on the students who remain. This is a risk we are not willing to take.
What Happens Now?
The Ministry of Education for the Early Years sector has stated once the school’s decision has been shared with parents, a 30-day window opens where you can withdraw your child from Montessori Academy to pursue another option, without financial penalty. Therefore, parents have until November 18, 2022 to contact Victoria Little at email@example.com and indicate in writing that they are withdrawing their child due to the school’s decision regarding the CWELCC program. Please note, if you choose to withdraw from the school, new applications to return at a later date will not be given priority. This aligns with our current admissions policy regarding the completion of a full level of our program.
Supporting Our Families
We recognize the significant financial commitment that families make when they invest in Montessori education. Although there is some relief in the form of tax benefits available to parents with younger children, we are looking at ways to increase funding and accessibility to our Financial Support program for all families.
Starting in December, families will be eligible to apply to the program for the 2023-2024 school year after completing only one year at Montessori Academy instead of two. Applications are processed through Apple Financial, who provides recommendations for support to the school. In addition, we continue to make investments into the Endowment Fund held at the London Community Foundation (LCF) which provides an open opportunity for any donor in the city looking to support the education sector.
This decision has weighed heavily on me for the last several months and I have invested a remarkable amount of time exploring all kinds of avenues, along with thoroughly understanding all aspects of the CWELCC program. If you do have further questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but please trust that the best decision for the school and the continuity of your child’s Montessori education has been made.