I've been a little bit worried about this issue, Have you?
If you're a parent or a teacher of infants, toddlers, and/or preschoolers, it's probably been on your mind. Along with a lot of other things.
I feel for you because I've been in early childhood education myself for over 45 years and I'm still waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as 2 important areas are concerned, respect and compensation. I'm also a parent and a grandparent.
The problem with pandemic-era funding ending on Sept. 30, 2023, has been in the news a lot after all, but what does that mean for us?
Either 70,000 children will be out of care, quality will go way down, or prices will skyrocket for families. Or maybe some combination of the above. My guess is as good as yours.
And what if quality goes down? What exactly will that look like? I can't even imagine!
We need to look at early childhood care and education as an investment and one of the more important ones. This short 3-minute video from The Center On The Developing Child at Harvard shows us why and just how early we need to be looking.
What does this video say to me? it says invest in us. Teachers, parents, and providers of all kinds including anyone who's responsible for the care and nurture of our youngest citizens. In that way, you'll be investing in the children and the future of our world.
Invest in policies that allow parents to stay at home a little bit longer without losing their careers and paychecks. Fund excellent care situations for their children as they return to work.
That's the kind of support and respect we need. Other countries manage it so much better than we do. Why?
Here's the elephant in the room. The problem is that we've refused to fund non-maternal care for infants and toddlers for so long we can't even see how it happened. But it did.
There's a huge gap in our economy concerning the care and education of our youngest. We're still in the dark ages when it comes to supporting women and children. Surprised?
What about enacting a nationwide beverage tax to fund high-quality childcare options? Options that pay staff enough to feel respected and maybe stay in the same position for a while. We need to do something and we can't wait any longer.
If you think a beverage tax is a bad idea, I challenge you to come up with something better. Please!
Thanks for reading!
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! (click on the word) She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.