Imagine a big city daycare with a goat, a sheep and a flock of chickens. Real ones.
When Carolyn Ferns happened upon the children and their child-care teacher taking the goat for a walk, she knew anything was possible.
“I thought, what is this? This is fantastic,” recalls Ferns of the extraordinary scene in the Swedish city of Lund, where she was taking a university gap year in the early 2000s.
Ferns thinks about that daycare often in her new role as head of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, the voice of non-profit, affordable child care in the province.
The 700-member advocacy organization is gearing up for what Ferns hopes will be a pivotal year when parents, policy-makers and the general public debate new possibilities for child care.
“I want to expand how child care is thought of by everyone,” she says. “I want to be able to explain to people who aren’t parents and who don’t work in the field why they should be interested in child care, why it is an issue for all of us.”