The good news is that the President and Congress are talking about large investments in child care and preschool. Families have long struggled with the cost of child care. Therefore, it’s good to see interest from the Administration and Congress to address affordability for families. The American Families Plan, as proposed by the President, would invest $225 billion to make child care more affordable and to improve the quality of child care over the next 10 years.
While Worthy Wage Day always invokes a myriad of feelings, 2020 was likely one of our darkest tributes to this cause. With COVID-19 spreading across the state and the world, early care and education programs were asked to do the impossible – stay open to care for children of essential workers without necessary personal protective equipment to stay safe. It seems in some ways like that day has been repeated 365 times to bring us now to 2021, worn and weary. The pandemic has laid bare the significant challenges early childhood professionals face each and every day.
On April 15, Wisconsin received $579.7 million for child care through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March. These funds will be used to help families afford child care and to help stabilize the child care market (i.e. support child care businesses impacted by COVID-19 that are struggling to pay staff and fixed costs, such as rent, mortgage, or other operating expenses).
It began with idle small talk at a friend’s party. But that’s always how it begins.
“I’m a Realtor, what do you do?”
“I’m a teacher.”
“Oh, that’s such a rewarding job! My niece is in second grade. What grade do you teach?”
“I teach one-year-olds.”
*record scratch *
“…wait, I thought you said you were a teacher. What do you teach one-year-olds?”
WEESSN + Parenting Place + Local Farmers = new Farm to ECE purchasing pilot for child care providers
It has been a long-standing dream for Farm to Early Care and Education to explore ways for child care providers to share services in bulk purchasing of food for the children they serve. The year 2020 and a global pandemic magnified the need for fresh, local, and affordable options for meal services. Very early in the pandemic, child care providers struggled to find fresh produce. Many child care sites had to revert back to canned fruits and vegetables, meat, and protein alternatives that were in short supply. Frustrations in limits on items that could be purchased in stores literally had child care providers in tears because it was difficult to buy enough food at one time to keep meals going. It became a crisis, in that child care directors had to figure out new ways to keep little bellies full. Sometimes that meant a meal with no fruits and veggies, heavy on carbohydrates, and low in nutrients.
Press Release: WECA Commends Gov. Evers and Department of Children and Families for Crafting an Effective Plan for the Use of CCDBG Funds.
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association commends Governor Evers and Department of Children and Families Secretary Amundson on crafting an effective plan for the use of Wisconsin’s additional CCDBG funds through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This plan addresses pressing and immediate needs in our early care and education system, while putting in place mechanisms to stabilize this critical sector into the future.
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association strongly opposes the prioritization of one group of educators over another in County vaccine rollout.
As we approached Black History Month, I took a moment to reflect on my early schooling experiences. As a Black child who attended predominantly White k-12 schools, I am unable to recall any school-wide celebrations of Black history. What I do recall is being taught by primarily White female teachers. While I’m certain that their actions were well intended, their teaching practices lacked diversity. From an early age, I was constantly reminded of the perpetuation of white privilege in my educational settings. This notion of privilege was evident through my teacher’s mainstream selection of reading materials, guest speakers, field trips and exploration of historical figures who did not share my racial background. I suffered socially, emotionally, and academically while navigating these early education environments. Reflecting back, I now realize that my developmental needs were not being met, in part, due to the mismatch noted between my racial identity and the school’s curriculum. Where were the images of Black people in my early education setting? What were their stories?
More than half of the 74 million children in the United States are children of color, and they are served by learning systems that are gravely inequitable (Haywoode, 2020). Because of this inequity, social justice must be embedded in the field of early care and education. Nationally, Head Start programs were one way to address social justice. Head Start was designed to disrupt the cycle of poverty that is transferred from one generation to the next across the nation and to promote social justice in those areas where educational opportunity was denied. Since the inception of Head Start, the field of early childhood has expanded to many options such as family child care, group child care, school districts early childhood programs so how do we ensure all programs are centered around social justice.
We often hear the challenges of adult learning. The constant balancing act required to work full time, attend school, and care for a family all at once. These challenges, a once in a lifetime pandemic, and widespread calls for social justice have burdened our recipients and sponsors. And yet, through it all, our scholars are persevering and finding success.
This year, we plan to kick off a blog series where we share stories from early care and education professionals, we serve through various WECA programs. This month, we’re pleased to highlight Tammy Dannhoff, who as a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN scholarship recipient, is sharing her journey.