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Early Bird

School's not out: Home-based providers in Iredell, Warren, and Robeson

'The future of the world is in this room'

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.

Liz Bell/EducationNC

Katie here, stepping in for Liz as she enjoys an overdue beach vacation after traveling all around our state this summer.

I’m technically also at the beach, out on Ocracoke to cover the grand opening of the new Ocracoke School — four years after the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. You’ll able to read about that at on Monday, and you can see pictures from my trip on Instagram (@kdukes_ednc). I’ll also be posting stories on IG while I tag along with Beaufort County Schools superintendent Dr. Matthew Cheeseman for the first day of school on Monday.

But enough about me — back to Liz! Before heading out on vacation she spent time in Robeson County, which you’ll hear more about in an upcoming special edition of Early Bird that will wrap up EdNC’s “School’s Not Out” summer series.

Liz with Tim Little of the Robeson County Partnership for Children. Liz Bell/EducationNC.

This past week in our series, Liz focused on several of the family child care homes she visited in Robeson, Warren, and Iredell counties.

Family child care homes — also referred to as home-based child care settings — are an essential part of the early childhood education landscape in North Carolina. They’re relied on heavily in rural communities, and research says that “families of babies and toddlers, Black and Latinx families, families of children with special needs, and families experiencing poverty also primarily choose home-based care.”

But as Liz reports, “North Carolina has 30% fewer licensed homes than in 2018, when a little more than 1,700 homes were operating. A couple of years before, there were close to 5,000 homes.”

Learn more about why family child care homes are important, and how the state could help them thrive, by reading Liz’s article here.

Liz with Barbara Harris and Towana Neal of WanaPooh Daycare in Robeson County. Liz Bell/EducationNC.

I don’t know about y’all, but as school starts back up across the state, I’m feeling extra appreciation for all of the early childhood educators who support North Carolina’s littlest learners each summer. And a big shout-out to my pal Liz for helping them share their stories with us the last two months! We’ve got an exciting autumn project we’re planning, so keep your eyes on your inbox for the upcoming special edition of Early Bird.

More from EdNC on early childhood

Family child care providers supported the state during the pandemic. Now they need help.

Research says home-based programs are more likely than larger child care centers to serve Black and brown and rural communities.

Chirp! Chirp! Opportunities to share your voice

What would you like to see in our upcoming special edition wrap-up of the “School”s Not Out” summer learning series? More selfies of Liz and her local hosts? ;) Let us know by replying to this email!

The big picture for little kids

Taking flight! Opportunities to spread your wings

  • NBCDI National Conference - From National Black Child Development Institute

    In-person registration for the NBCDI National Conference taking place in Charlotte on October 13-15 has sold out, but you can still register for the virtual event at a reduced price. (I’ll be there IRL, so if you’ve already registered for the in-person version, come say hi!)

  • Child Care Champion Toolkit - From First Five Years Fund

    This toolkit includes state-specific fact sheets (here’s the one for NC) with information you can use to advocate for child care by posting on social media, calling/writing your elected representatives, or even meeting with them in person before they head back to Washington, D.C., after Labor Day.

  • National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit - From Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center

    From the organization: Join more than 5,000 state lawmakers and advocates, researchers, and practitioners for a virtual event to hear which states did the most to help young children and their families thrive in 2023, and to learn about the newest research informing prenatal-to-3 evidence-based policymaking. 

  • Dreaming of Fish: Pregnancy Tales from EBB - From Equity Before Birth

    Equity Before Birth has been hosting a 3-part audio series about Black maternal health on WNCU 90.7 FM in the Triangle. You can tune in live online to the final episode at 8 p.m. on August 31.

Katie Dukes

Katie Dukes is a policy analyst at EdNC.