With many parents working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with many child care providers temporarily closing or reducing the number of children they care for during that time, we are seeing a new level of appreciation for high quality care.
Parents have always appreciated their child care providers – after all, these teachers are taking care of a mom and dad’s whole world. Most parents previously recognized how important early education is on a surface level. However, now many families are articulating and demonstrating a greater understanding of how difficult it is to be a good teacher. It’s a deeper and more compassionate level of respect for their kids’ teachers.
Celebrity singer-songwriter John Legend, father to two-year-old Miles and four-year-old Luna with his model-cookbook author wife Chrissy Teigen, expressed his appreciation for educators on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
“You gain a new respect for what preschool teachers do for five, six hours a day,” he said. “They find ways to keep them active and stimulated and we’re struggling.”
It takes skill, training and discipline to provide an environment conducive to learning and growth, and to provide the empathy, attention and energy young children deserve. The effort is worth it – high quality early childhood education has been proven to catalyze achievement in reading and math later in childhood, among many other benefits.
The pandemic, while a difficult time for all child care providers, has been an opportunity to renew their commitment to high quality care and to evaluate each aspect of the child’s experience while in their care.
With new guidelines from the state of Nebraska and from the CDC, implementing new procedures is a given. But for providers enrolled in Step Up to Quality, improving processes is a common task and state of mind.
One of our Step Up to Quality providers, Angie Lange, described the mentality as this in her blog: “We often talk about how we want to raise the bar on child care, because we believe that our kiddos deserve the best.”
For quality-focused child care providers, they’ll do anything necessary to make sure the children in their care are given the environment to be safe, to grow and to succeed. Because succeeding is a never-ending journey…but square one has to be a solid foundation in order to accomplish all the goals and achievements each child is capable of.
High quality early childhood education closes opportunity gaps that are in place because of poverty, trauma, and all the unfortunate circumstances that stem from those, like poor nutrition, lack of sleep and less time spent reading, for example.
By giving each child the opportunity to succeed, we are setting in motion a generation of intelligent, compassionate, kind, energetic, happy, hardworking Nebraskans. High quality child care is where it starts.