Children grow by leaps and bounds in their first five years. Learning to walk, talk, sing, and read prepares our babies for K-12 and higher learning. These years matter!
These are also the years that children discover the world around them, when they begin to develop their understanding of the sameness, and the differences, among us. We may believe children are too young or too busy to notice their environment. We may think they are not paying attention, until they surprise us by repeating something they heard when we thought they were not listening.
What we say to children matters, the behaviors we model matter, the examples we set matter.
The importance of these formative years speaks to the importance of diversity and equity in child care. Unfortunately, statistics show there is still much progress to be made1:
- Approximately 80% of center-based and home-based care givers across the United States were born in this country, while only 20% were born in other countries.
- Women of color make up nearly 40% of the early learning workforce.
- Teachers of color often earn less. In California, 57% of African American and 59% of Hispanic center-based staff earn less than $15 per hour, compared to 39% of White staff.
Since 1976, Child Action, Inc. has advocated on behalf of babies and their first teachers - parents and their chosen child care providers. We hope to continue for at least another 44 years. We know that the partnership between parents and care givers is instrumental in laying the foundation that is crucial in setting children up for success. Children learn what they are taught. Children become what they learn.
We also know that child care is essential to our community. The health of a community can be measured by the health of its children. Because of this, we will continue to meet with our local and state leaders to advocate for funding to support families who need help paying for child care, child care providers who need access to higher wages in order to support their families, and children who are entitled to diversity and equity in their early learning settings.
We will seek opportunities to partner in our community to improve access to information for families and child care providers alike. We will continue to look for relevant resources. Most importantly, we will create space to listen to our child care community and our parents about what they need as they shape our next generation. We are here for Sacramento County’s babies and their first teachers.
American Psychological Association
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment