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From a parent's perspective- How does working full time and providing high quality care for young children actually work?

In order to provide the best opportunities for your children, it is often the case that parents need to work full time. Working full time means giving your trust to the childcare provider. In one family from rural Vermont, the closest high quality childcare setting was thirty minutes away, one hour drive time round trip. While there was childcare available locally, it was not high quality and the hours did not benefit working parents. This family tried both options- and the hour drive time high-quality program won out. Engagement in the high-quality program met all of the needs of the child, and eliminated stress on the parent (worrying about the quality of care for the child). It was worth driving an additional hour daily.

Photo of Dana Anderson
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Families can be limited with high-quality options for childcare in rural areas.  This example demonstrates how far parents are willing to go (literally) to ensure that their child is receiving quality care that meets the demands of working parents.  

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Photo of Jessica Holmes

Thanks for your comment Dana. How can we increase the quantity/quality of child care options in rural communities? From my own experience, I remember it was often hard to assess the quality of child care providers, particularly those who provide care in their own homes (versus a day care center setting). I felt more comfortable relying on larger centers as I assumed there was more oversight but the wait lists were so long...

Photo of Dana Anderson

In Vermont, we have a quality rating scale for home and center providers. This info is available for parents. It does not mean that there are enough slots in high quality programs though! Vermont programs also must meet licensing regulations, and in order to receive federal funds, must follow an approved curriculum. All of this being said- it still may or may not translate into a place where you would like to send your child!!
In rural communities- bringing in early education programs as a part of the local public school is an option- and possible transportation needs could be met this way. I also like the idea of offering more ways for home providers to afford to run high quality programs- such as training scholarships, costs for a mentor teacher to work with them and high enough wages to make this a viable employment for the provider.
Another option is to take a closer look at our public transportation options.

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