Nearly 1,000 parents, senior educators, and staff from early childcare institutions are expected to attend the 2019 Canada Education Expo, which will be held next to the Richmond Cultural Centre over the weekend.
The fair will centre around the theme "Meeting the needs of parents and early childhood educators" and will seek to facilitate understanding between these two parties.
Early childhood education plays a vital role in a child's development, said Joey Zuo, organizer of the education fair and executive director of Canada Early Childhood Education Division. Children need to learn how to interact with others and to develop interests that will stay with them throughout their lives, Zuo explained.
Zuo, who left a government job and made a mid-career change into the education profession three years ago, said there is a lot of misunderstanding and frustration between Chinese parents and childcare institutions. The fair will provide a platform to have dialogue about these issues.
"My friends found it difficult to navigate the early childcare education system here," said Zuo. "Some of them complain their child's name has been on a school's waiting list for a year, while others suggest preschools should have more teachers."
Zuo explained that these stories stress a common problem in the current childcare education system - the shortage of licensed early childhood educators and childcare space in Richmond, and across Metro Vancouver.
"So, we've invited representatives from the provincial government to join this event, and parents can tell them their concerns," said Zuo, adding wthe issue can't be solved overnight, but starting a conversation can be a good start.
The fair organizers have also invited experienced preschool and daycare teachers who are passionate about their profession. Zuo hopes young educators can find inspiration from them.
"Some preschool teachers told me they felt burned out every day since they need to take care of dozens of children. And a few of them later have switched their career after working for only three or four years," said Zuo.
"Talking with experienced educators can empower them to be more motivated and enthusiastic about their profession."
The conference will take place at 7700 Minoru Gate in Richmond on Nov. 9 to 10. Admission is free.