I attended a Webinar called “The Workforce behind the Workforce, Childcare Providers in the Coronavirus Pandemic.”
Some of the childcare providers that spoke on the panel had been in and ran Early Childhood Centers for a very long time, I think I heard one say they were getting ready to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
Several things touched my heart about what the panelist said, but the one thing that stuck with me is that one of the owners of a preschool said that she had not paid herself since the Pandemic started, because she wanted to be sure that her staff and the other bills for her center was paid. She said that she had even used her savings to keep the school open.
She explained the process of the stimulus check that was provided for Childcare Centers and how so many people applied, that by the time she gathered all the paperwork she needed to get her application in, all the money was gone. My heart went out for her, and the first thing I thought was, ” I didn’t know.”
That is one of the reasons I wanted to write this blog. Because I think it is very easy to sit back and blame organizations for layoffs and furlongs when we don’t know what they are going through themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t feel for the people that were lay-off too, I just think we have to look at both sides of the coin.
The providers talked about how now that the economy is opening and they can open their centers. Not all of the children are returning, because the parents are afraid to bring their children back to the center. And the new policy of only 10 students per classroom, plus, the cost of the extra supplies that are needed is putting an additional strain on the already financial burden of losing so many students.
On the panelist was a Toddler Teacher that shared she had asthma and how she has had pneumonia at least four times and the struggle she is having in returning to work. She talked about her passion for working with toddlers and how she loves to hug and play with them. Tears came to her eyes and mine when she explained her husband’s concerns for her returning to work. He said I don’t want to have to tell our kids that you are in the ICU. Everyone on the panel, including me, had to hold back our tears. I thought to myself. “this is serious.”
She explained her struggle about being on unemployment and refusing to return to work, knowing she will lose her unemployment, and benefits which she so desperately needs.
One of the things she said about the Pandemic is that quality care depends on passionate teachers like her, and to lose good teachers will take away the quality of care for the students. She also mentioned that the Pandemic is causing trauma for students on a national scale, which I thought was a very powerful and true statement.
I can’t give you the entire webinar, but I hope the things that I mentioned help you think more about the Early Childhood Field and what it means to Parents, Children, Teachers, Directors, and Owners. Everyone is affected by the Pandemic, and as one of the panelists said, childcare was already in trouble before the Pandemic, the Pandemic just added to it.
Childcare needs a bailout just like every other company. Sadly, something like a Pandemic showed people that Childcare Providers are essential workers.
As I close out this blog. I would like each one of you who have read this blog, to not post anything on the social media site where you found the blog. But go to my actual blog and tell us how the Pandemic affected you.
A Childcare Rescue Package is in the works, let’s hope it goes through. (See Link Below) https://www.americanprogress.org/press/statement/2020/05/27/485500/statement-new-child-care-rescue-package-essential-americas-economic-revival/