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Early Bird

Child care providers rally at General Assembly

'What’s going to happen if there isn’t consistent child care?'

Early Bird readers, hello again. Newcomers, welcome! If you were forwarded this email, you can sign up here to receive it every two weeks, and join our conversation on issues facing North Carolina’s young children and those who support them. If you’re already a subscriber, please help us reach more people by sharing this with your friends and co-workers interested in early childhood education. 

A child care rally attendee peers over the balcony inside the state legislative building. Liz Bell/EducationNC

As the short session moves along, child care providers and advocates have their eyes on June 30, the date that officially marks the end of stabilization grants for child care providers across the state.

Hundreds of educators, parents, and community members showed up on May 16 to raise awareness of exactly what that date will mean if legislators do not step in with funding to continue those grants.

Child care owners shut their doors and parents took off work to demonstrate the potential closures and workforce disruptions to come. Attendees rallied outside the state legislative building and met with legislators inside.

“It’s only one day,” said Megan Ryan, a parent of a toddler in Durham. “What’s going to happen if there isn’t consistent child care? What will that mean for my ability to keep my job?”

Advocacy is taking all shapes and forms this session. Outside of the statewide rally calling for $300 million, providers organized local “days without child care” earlier in the month in Durham and Charlotte. Smaller groups of advocates have planned meetings with targeted representatives. Local efforts like the one led by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce have raised awareness and funding.

The staff of Care-O-World Early Learning Centers, a regional child care program in eastern North Carolina, wrote an EdNC perspective on the need for sustained investment in child care.

“Child care is infrastructure — just as essential as bridges, schools, airports, and landfills,” they wrote. “Our jobs are just as important as college professors, doctors, and nurses; they work, because we work. We are tired of being poor. 

Stabilize North Carolina child care. Not just for a year — forever.”

Katie and I have had a very busy season. We have attended conferences, spoken at events, spent days in classrooms, traveled to Washington, D.C., and recorded an episode of “Due South” on WUNC. I spent last Saturday night emceeing the 50th anniversary celebration for the Child Care Services Association. We are honored to be in these roles, sharing your stories, elevating your needs and solutions, and showcasing your passion.

Many of you are already making hard choices about your programs, your jobs, and your futures. You are on our minds. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are interested in sharing your story or have a question. Thank you for all you do.

More from EdNC on early childhood

Child care providers rally at the legislature for stabilization funding

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Perspective | We are child care professionals. We are infrastructure. We need long-term stabilization

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Stable child care in Watauga County would add 300 employees to the local economy, study finds

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The big picture for little kids

Legislative Updates

Check out this previous edition of Early Bird for information on early childhood this short legislative session.

Learn more from our early childhood legislative preview, our coverage of this month’s rally, our unpacking of Gov. Cooper’s budget proposal, and our breakdown of other education bills to follow.

Next, the House and Senate will each release a budget plan, and then work together to reach a compromise.

Taking flight! Opportunities to spread your wings

  • Emotional well-being resources for young children, caregivers - From Sesame Workshop

    Find resources, activities, and videos to help children and their caregivers form the bonds and social connections that nurture their well-being.

  • A Salary Scale Toolkit for Supporting the use of Salary Scales in Early Childhood Programs - From NC Institute for Child Development Professionals

    This toolkit provides background and implementation information on salary scales for early childhood educators. It also includes a free interactive tool for any provider to plug in their expenses and create a salary scale that works for them.

  • Building Bright Futures with Early Childhood Apprenticeships - From The North Carolina Business Committee for Education

    From the program’s website:

    “Building Bright Futures is a pilot initiative designed to support and scale pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships in early childhood education throughout North Carolina. BBF offers technical assistance, financial support, and resources to pre-apprentices and apprentices, child care centers, school districts, community colleges, and other partners that are part of a registered apprenticeship program through ApprenticeshipNC.”

  • Impact Summit 2024: Honoring and Supporting the Whole Child - From PBS North Carolina

    Saturday, June 1 | 9 am – 4:45 pm at East Carolina University

    From the organizer:

    “The Impact Early Childhood Education Summit is a gathering of Early Childhood Education Professionals, parents and caregivers aimed at celebrating and supporting those who are helping children, birth through third grade, to grow strong roots for a healthy foundation. Enjoy presentations and breakout sessions, network with colleagues and earn contact hour credits on art integration, educational media, STEM curriculum, equity in education, parenting and more.”

Liz Bell

Liz Bell is the early childhood reporter for EducationNC.