Martha Friendly

Martha Friendly was educated in the United States, majoring in psychology as an undergraduate, and studying social psychology at the graduate level at the University of Connecticut. Before moving to Canada in 1971, she became involved in child care/early childhood education as a researcher studying the American Head Start program at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. Following her immigration to Canada, she worked on child care research at the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto. She became a research coordinator at the University of Toronto’s Child in the City program (at the Centre for Urban & Community Studies) in 1978. Martha founded and is currently coordinator of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. She has authored numerous articles, chapters and reports on child care and a book on child care policy, and participates in several child care advocacy groups.

  • About Canada: Childcare

    By Martha Friendly and Susan Prentice     May 2009

    In Canada, early childhood education and care includes childcare programs, kindergartens and nursery schools. When these programs are well-designed, they support children’s development and accommodate parents who work or study. About Canada: Childcare answers questions about early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) in Canada. Why doesn’t Canada have an ECEC system, even though other countries do? Why is ECEC so important? What is missing in Canada’s ECEC landscape and why? Can ECEC programs be designed as wonderful environments for young children or are they merely necessary but not particularly desirable places to keep children safe while mothers are at work? Is ECEC primarily a public good, a private family responsibility or an opportunity for profit-making? Early childhood education and childcare is a political issue, the authors argue, and Canada needs an integrated system of services. The absence of a universal publicly funded ECEC system is detrimental to families, women and children and Canada’s future.