Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families, and Build Communities

Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families, and Build Communities

Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families, and Build Communities

Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families, and Build Communities

Excerpt

More than thirty years ago I stepped inside my first classroom and was greeted by a small group of wiggling three-yearolds. I knew right away, when I looked into their very young faces, that the time we spent together was important to their development. Those early experiences caring for young children grounded my conviction that child care is an educational opportunity. Yet it was not until I became a parent myself that I understood the emotions of the child-care issue. I remember how our young daughter would run to greet her father when he picked her up from child care. I remember beginning the search for part-time care for our eleven-month-old baby boy. Just thinking back to those days, recalling my worries and my joys, knowing that I was so much luckier than most, strengthened my resolve to help make child care a better place for all children and families.

It was from those two perspectives, as a provider and as a parent, that I moved on to the world of policy shaping and policy making. Along with many others, I spent hours and days, months and years writing reports, gathering statistics, listening to stories, rallying with fellow advocates, pursuing a common goal—real choices for parents in the care of their children. Along the way we increased resources and took some important policy steps forward. Unfortunately, the gaps are still very wide: between what we know and what we are able to do, between parents with resources and those on limited budgets, between rhetoric and real action.

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