In the United States and Canada, the majority of child care workers are women, and most of them are underpaid – often only at minimum wage. In addition, child care services must meet specific staffing requirements, which vary by state.
Non-profit child care providers are generally more likely to provide good services for this vulnerable population, while for-profit child care facilities may be less likely to meet these requirements.
Read on to learn more about the various ways child care services can help you and your family.
Early childhood education is an integral part of education as a whole
It’s often said that children who attend preschool before entering kindergarten do better in school. This may sound counterintuitive, but a Harvard study found that children who attended preschool before entering kindergarten had lower chances of being placed in special education.
Furthermore, these preschoolers were more likely to graduate from high school. Other studies have shown similar results. In fact, early childhood education increases graduation rates by about 50 percent in preschools and by more than 80 percent in kindergarten.
The benefits of early childhood education are numerous. Early childhood education and child care services such as Wee Watch help children develop social skills, increase their chances of graduating from college and enjoy continuing employment.
Research suggests that children who receive a high-quality early childhood education are more likely to be able to perform well emotionally, socially, and academically.
Developmental psychology is the study of patterns of human development and how they change throughout the life span. Early childhood education emphasizes the discontinuous aspects of development.
Costs of child care
As the number of children grows, the cost of child care is increasing. According to the Center for American Progress, costs of child care services make up 70 percent of the overall budget.
Because of the high costs, many childcare centers have had to limit enrollment, and they have passed these costs onto the parents. This has disproportionately affected working mothers.
Therefore, it is crucial to find ways to lower the costs of child care. The following are some tips to keep costs under control.
The cost of child care services varies by state. For example, the cost of infant and preschool care in New York cost $1,283 per month, compared to less than $1,030 a month in Hawaii.
This is not surprising because New York has one of the highest costs of living in the country, second only to California and Hawaii.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2010, the median income for a family of four was $5,600, which meant that the average family spent twenty-three percent of their income on child care.
Government programs that help pay for childcare
The government offers several programs to help low-income families afford child care. Child care subsidies are primarily administered through the Child Care and Development Block Grants.
In order to qualify, a family must be low-income and have a child under the age of nine. Additionally, the primary caregiver must be employed or in school. The child’s age must also be under eighteen years old.
The child must also be physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.
The largest source of federal funds for child care assistance is the child care and development block grant (CCDBG). This program provides financial assistance to low-income families and improves the quality of child care.
Unlike other federal programs, CCDBG is funded through block grants, which give the states a large amount of discretion over the rules and regulations. The grants are typically provided in voucher form and do not cover the full cost of care.
Additionally, many states have long waiting lists, and only one out of every six children receives assistance through the block grant.
Cultural diversity in childcare
One of the best ways to ensure cultural diversity in a child care service is by creating a welcoming environment. For example, displays of flags from different cultures can encourage discussion.
Children may ask questions about their own culture, so educators should be prepared for this. You can also hold weekly showcases of culture, involving parents in the celebration.
You can also celebrate calendar events from different cultures throughout the year, such as Chinese New Year, Indian Diwali, and Thai Loy Krathong.
In addition to creating a welcoming environment, cultural diversity in child care services must be incorporated into the décor and activities. Decorations and posters should be culturally appropriate and promote learning.
To assess if you’re doing a good job, you can use tools and checklists to gauge your learning environment. The Diversity Worksheet is a great tool for assessing diversity in a child care service.
You can use it to measure the impact your culturally diverse environment is having on children.