The Biggest Problem with Child Care in the United States

statueI read a sarcastic Craigslist post a few months ago that was circling among my educator cohort titled “Free Child Care.”  (I’ve looked for it since and can’t find it to link…you’ll have to use your imaginations.)  The post attempted, in witty tongue-in-cheek fashion, to illuminate the problem of child care costs by itemizing the actual cost of providing care for a child.  The writer was clever and the post struck a chord with my fellow educators, the sentiment being, Why do clients complain so much about the cost of child care?  Don’t they realize how little we make and how much we do?? 

On the other hand, I have friends in my parenting circles who want more children but choose against it (or choose to delay having other children), because they can’t afford the cost of child care.  Many of my fellow family child care providers had other careers before having children of their own, and then the cost of child care was too expensive for them to work.  They quit their jobs and opened their own child care programs.  They wonder, How can I pay for child care? The costs of placing my children in a child care program take up my entire paycheck.  How am I supposed to survive? (more…)

No Longer At Odds With Toddlers

IIMG_6117t snowed a few weeks ago in Lausanne; a beautiful dusting that covered everything with an inch of wet snow.

As I walked my son to preschool, I noticed something that made me smile.  The sidewalks had been cleared, and yet every stretch of snow remaining on the edges had tracks of footprints.  Made by child-sized feet.  I watched, smiling, as my son did what the toddler before him had done…march boldly in the fresh blankets of snow.

There was a wide swath of cleared pavement to choose from.  He didn’t need to walk in the snow.  Nor did the child (more…)

No, You Are Not Alone

IMG_3876As parents and educators, we can seem to have it all together.

We are embarrassed that we’ve lost it with our kids over something as insignificant as spilled milk, and so we hide our messy stories from each other.  We are fearful to let anyone in on the emotional chaos we feel.  We have bought into the lie that vulnerability equals weakness, and weakness equals disaster.

We believe we are raising our children alone.

But we are not alone.  (more…)

We Are All Outsiders: Play is Our Way IN

We were in Japan last week, and I was reminded of the exhilaration of immersing myself in a brand new culture.  We quite literally did not know how to do the most basic things: board the escalators, eat the amazing food, or flush the toilets.  Relying on cues from the local Japanese was the only window we had into cultural expectations.

·         The line of pedestrians standing along the left side of the escalator signaled that we were to keep a lane open on the right for those commuters rushing to catch their train.

·         The full shoe cubbies by the doorway to the restaurant clued us to take our own shoes off before entering.

·         I had to guess on the toilets.* (more…)

How New Words Might Transform Our Care For Young Children (Guest Post By Kelly Matthews)

kidsI visit a lot of programs in my current role and spend time watching teachers and children interact in typical child care settings – I look at what is available for children to play with, listen for how teachers speak with children, watch children’s interactions, and examine how educators document children’s learning in the program.

One of the things I review is the written schedule, and the terms that programs use to name their time together are always striking to me.  Often there is Arrival, (more…)