(Blooming Prairie, MN September , 2022) :
Affordability of Childcare – An Oxymoron
Childcare is a business. The success of a business requires knowledge of the industry. Any new start-up company can identify there is a steep learning curve during those first few years. We believe it’s important to share what we have learned during this journey.
Many of the challenges facing the early childhood education (ECE) sector boils down to the fact that parents cannot afford to pay what it costs to provide care that meets the minimum standards we have set in place, much less what it would cost to meet the highest standards of quality that would best support the early brain development of our youngest learners.
Parents of young children are often unable to invest in their children’s ECE experiences at a level commensurate with the benefits to themselves, their children, and society more broadly. Families are stretching beyond their limits to pay for childcare, with the typical family in Minnesota spending 11.1% of their income on childcare.
There are clear indicators of market failures in the ECE industry. In other areas where the market cannot effectively provide a service that is a significant benefit to the society at whole – in K-12 education for example, public subsidies help fill the gap. There are public subsidies available for ECE to families that meet certain income thresholds, however, funding that is provided on the county level is often insufficient to cover the cost of high-quality care.
A large part of what drives the higher cost of higher quality childcare is incorporation of compensation that is equitable and sustainable for the childcare workforce. We’ve seemed to be complacent as a society, expecting those who watch over our most precious people as we work be paid an unsustainable wage.
The median hourly wage for childcare workers in Minnesota as of 2020 is $13.80 per hour. Our willingness as a society to allow the childcare workforce, which nationally is 94% female, bears the brunt of this broken business model.
If childcare costs are too high, then as a society we need to push for funding for quality early childhood education rather than place our children in substandard childcare with untrained staff and high ratios. We know through an abundance of research that children who receive a quality early childhood education enter kindergarten less likely to need special education and more likely graduate from high school with skills to be gainfully employed. It has been proven through research from years 0-5 is the most critical years for brain development.
We wouldn’t sacrifice cost for quality healthcare. We wouldn’t sacrifice cost for quality eldercare. Yet we seem unable to embrace the significance of the early childhood education industry and how it can benefit society. We can’t change what it costs to implement a high standard of early childhood education. What can change is the lack of funding for our future. Please help us by considering making tuition scholarship donations and encourage your local and state legislators to remember the significance of this industry.
We are often asked, how much does it cost? Please visit our tuition page: https://leoaugusta.com/tuition/
Amy Hinzmann, Board Chair of Leo Augusta Children’s Academy
Why Preschool Programming Matters &
How The Leo Augusta Children’s Academy Can Help
Investing in preschool programming for your child will be one of the most important decisions that you can make as a parent. Several studies have shown that children who graduate from a preschool program have improved academic readiness, higher earnings as adults, and lower incarceration rates.
At the Leo Augusta Children’s Academy, we fully believe that children learn by playing. Through our preschool programming, our children are provided with opportunities to learn in ways that interest them which provides a positive association with learning. At LACA, our children spend extended amounts of time with their peers and adults outside of their immediate family. Along with our strong academic programming, the Academy environment provides multiple opportunities for children to build conversational and listening skills as well as to learn how to cooperate, share and make friends. Even at this young age, our children are beginning to learn how their behavior affects and impacts others which supports the development of self-regulation skills. Social and emotional learning is an important piece of what is provided to our children at the Academy.
If you have spent any time at all with young children, you are fully aware that they have active imaginations and curious minds. A walk through our classrooms provides you with a daily glimpse of those active minds at work. Our Academy Team members are trained to help children develop their ideas and thoughts. We encourage creativity and listen to our children’s ideas. We encourage curiosity and the asking of “Why?” Also, at Leo Augusta, our children have multiple opportunities each day to choose activities that they participate in. Not only does that free-choice time support their interests, but also provides them with the opportunity to make decisions and accept responsibility.
If needed, our staff is there to offer suggestions to those who have difficulty deciding. Children also learn to accept responsibility for taking care of themselves and their needs by washing their hands, placing toys back in designated spaces, and keeping personal belongings in their cubbies.
Our staff daily provides a language-rich environment for children that supports their language and vocabulary development through the asking of thought-provoking questions. I believe that we can all agree that Kindergarten has become significantly more academic over time. Preschool programming provides the important foundational opportunity for growth and successful development with the literacy, cognition, math, arts, science, and social and emotional experiences that are provided.
As you can see, there is an incredible and significant return on investment in high-quality early childhood and preschool programming. At the Leo Augusta Children’s Academy, we provide a 5-day-a-week, all-day preschool program for children. Using the Creative Curriculum program, we can build our children’s confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills through the projects and investigations presented daily. Using the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress as our guide, The Creative Curriculum for Preschool program aligns with the content, goals, and ideals of the indicators through a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and rich with content. If you have questions regarding our preschool programming, do not hesitate to contact the Academy at 507-572-2062 or email@example.com. Let us help make a difference in your child’s life.
Doug Anderson, Director, Leo Augusta Children’s Academy
Please contact the Team Leaders below if you have any questions!
Doug Anderson, Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daysha Zilm, Assistant Director: email@example.com
For updates on progress and development follow the LACA Facebook page.