Child care providers share how to value early childhood educators beyond Provider Appreciation Week 

Every little New Yorker should be supported by an affordable, safe, and culturally responsive universal child care system with well-equipped and supported child care providers. Yet, child care workers are still among the lowest-paid workers in New York State and many do not earn family-sustaining wages, making it difficult for them to stay in the sector. 

Despite the pandemic shining a light on the fact that our economy depends on services that child care professionals provide, this inequity remains rampant, and decades of under-investment in the child care sector have led to inequities that must be remedied.   

National Child Care Provider Day is annually celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The day is set to recognize child care providers, teachers, and other educators of young children. To celebrate, we asked providers what challenges they face and how the State and New York City can better support them. Here’s what they had to say, some of whom wished to remain anonymous:

“There is no pay parity for teachers, it is hard to keep them in the early childhood field and in community-based organizations. Center teachers need to be compensated and cared for as their school-based counterparts.” -Director, Community-Based Center, NYC 

“The city should develop a 5-year pay increase schedule that is in alignment with our 5-year contracts to build wage increases for early childhood teachers. This will help with educator retention and give us hope to stay in the field we live while providing for our own families.” -Teacher, Community-Based Center, NYC 

“Parents need full day care. Providing six hours and 20 minutes of care and learning isn’t enough for working or middle-class families. They are still scrambling for care and in the end, children suffer because consistency is lacking. Staffing a longer day is a challenge too, both issues have to be addressed.” -Director of Community-Based Center, NYC

“I witness daily the resilience of our community, where over 95% of families are low-income. I assist these families in accessing vital benefits like food stamps and cash assistance through proof of enrollment letters. Yet, it is disheartening that our dedicated teachers, who shape the future, also rely on these same benefits to make ends meet.” -Vanesa Robles, an employee at Cypress Hills Child Care Center in Brooklyn. 

Read more about how New York State can appreciate providers all year by committing to strong, permanent investments in the workforce on the Raising NY blog.