When we speak of equity, we tend to automatically think about how to make public schools in all neighborhoods have equal access to resources and the same goals for all children. But family childcare has a role to play in trying to level the playing field for all children.
Family childcare still has a way to go when it comes to others seeing us as the professionals that we are, but we do not need to wait for them to see us as professionals for us to ACT like it. We are in the best positions possible to create a change and help children excel in school. We have small classrooms and we can get to know our students in a way that most teachers wish they could but can’t because they are saddled with so much extra responsibility. The pit falls of the career is that we do not have the same access to the resources of a public or private school.
So how do we create equity for the children in care when we often are left in the dark about the resources that can help our students before they enter the public or private school system?
We. Get. Loud.
With many parents having to have two working parents in the home and often having to choose between quality and affordability for their children it is an honor that we can provide the high quality for them. That means having a list of resources ready to go for children who may need it. Allowing speech and physical therapist into our homes during work hours to work with one of our children. Providing special accommodations for children who may need it.
These things can make a huge difference in the life of a child who may have otherwise started out behind in their Kindergarten classrooms. More than anything we want the children we care for to excel. To do that we have to acknowledge that not all children get equal and fair treatment. Children of color are often treated worst, expelled more and expected to act older than their ages. Children with disabilities often must fight for their access to resources and help.
Family Child Care Providers can help parents by holding parent engagement nights that teaches parents their rights as they navigate the public-school system. Giving them updates lists of local and national resources and encouraging them to join associations like NAFCC or NAEYC so that they can have a voice and learn what they can about the school system and its laws.
Equity in education isn’t just for the K-12 school system. We are teachers too, and as the second teachers (parents are the first) young children encounter we owe it to them to start fighting for equity from the very beginning.
Fight for Equity and Always
Live Long and Keep Teaching!