Righting Child Care – a call to serious dialogue

A Personal Major Sea Change

When my grandaughter was being eagerly awaited, her parents were already planning for how they would balance their work and family hopes and dreams.  They started talking about “day care” and I heard myself immediately say – not my grand child!

This is my chosen field for my entire working life.  I live and breathe this work.  Was I really saying that deep down I found it so flawed that my grandaughter was to be exempt? Feeling like a hypocrite, like a traitor to the hard working women and men I care about, I had to do some serious soul-searching.  And I learned I wasnt alone.  At this point in my career, applying bandaids, short term fixes, propping up the system, slapping on new labels and reaching only for “low hanging fruit” is no longer strategic.  We simply must stop tolerating the tinkering and face the major work.

Righting Child Care

Like a ship that is off balance, the child care system is not working well. Not for children, Not for teachers. and not for parents. It needs to be “corrected” by shifting parts until we acheive the “right” balance. Balance doesnt mean compromising parts in this context. it means finding “right action” for children, families and teachers. The “correct” amount of whatever element we are considering: time. education. money. love. power. attention. and more of course.

This weekly blog will be thoughts and reflections on what we need to do to make child care “right”. It is an open invitation to dialogue, not a monologue.  All of us and our perspectives, all are the pieces of the system and part of the vessel that needs “righting”. The QRIS, state regulations, teacher wages, children’s need for relationship and the effects of group sizes. This is big and messy and …. classic systems work. I worry that we have been misguided in much of our “quality improvement” efforts.  We are still doing things “to” people when all the while we are active participants in tipping the system too. Where are teachers and directors and parents at the leadership table driving policy and initiatives?  We need deep reflection and honest dialogue to consider what really needs to happen. Maybe this grand social experiment we call “child care” is a failure? But it does work in parts of Europe. Maybe Americans just refuse to make it a priority so it chronically suffers from inadequate funding and low respect. And why would we tolerate American children being put in such a compromising and careless system?  Its way past time – a generation past time. We must get this right finally.

 

Righting Child Care – a call to serious dialogue

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