Collier Child Care Resources is part of Future Ready Collier, a collaborative network of community members, organizations, businesses and schools working to ensure every child in Collier County is ready for Kindergarten and every young person enters adulthood with a vision and a plan to accomplish that vision. Future Ready Collier is the Collier partner for the regional FutureMakers Coalition. Visit www.FutureReadyCollier.org to learn more and get involved.
Many early childhood teachers today rely on federally funded programs to pay their bills, seek medical attention, and even feed their families. In their most recent work, Whitebook, Phillips, & Howes (2014) state that 46% of early childhood workers on a national scale rely on food stamps and welfare for support.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
For every child’s teacher in his or her life between the ages of 0-5, half of them rely on government programs in order to survive.
In order to initiate change, we have to advocate for ourselves as early childhood professionals, and for those whom we know, love, and trust with our children’s future. There are few, if any, policies in North Carolina supporting the pay for early childhood professionals. We know that parents cannot afford to pay more, as tuition rates have steadily increased over time. However, the best teachers can’t afford to stay. If we are buying into the idea of getting our children ready to enter the school system at age 5, we have to buy in to supporting early childhood wages, as well.
We have a tendency to think of quality as materials, a nice environment, and the ability to achieve all of the standards set forth by the governing systems over child care. The one component that is harder to capture, is teacher-child interactions. We could set up a room with an endless supply of toys and books, counters that are sanitized properly, and diapers that are regularly checked, however without an engaged, loving, and supportive teacher involved we are leaving our children to chance.