Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

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

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Together and united, we are here. We are the child care professionals of Care-O-World Early Learning Centers

We teach, we love, and we care for our children — North Carolina’s children. We are united in our work. We lead, we assist, we direct, we cook, and we clean. There are daily tasks forgotten by most: lesson planning, diaper changing, fixing scraped knees, and comforting broken hearts. It is all in a day’s work, a long day’s work. 

Spanning over 36 years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to the children of our state. Hundreds of families. Thousands of children. Thirty-five pre-K graduations. A pilot More at Four (NC Pre-K) location in 2001. An Early Head Start Child Care Partner.

We’ve witnessed both the best of times and the worst of times; through a pandemic and the inevitable ups and downs. Since 1987, our dedication endures. 

We are professionals. We have college degrees, and student loans. We have decades of experience and are experts at our craft. We are so much more than “babysitters.” We help children learn during their first five years — when they learn the most. Children learn through play, play that is planned and very purposeful — even evaluated.

Jason Carrow, executive director of Care-O-World Early Learning Centers, and Sara Cariaso, director of operations at the program, speak with Sen. Kandie Smith, D-Edgecombe, about child care at an open house for a program in Ayden. Liz Bell/EducationNC

We are Black, white, and every color and shade between. We are as liberal as they come, and as far right as imaginable — and many independent. We are married and single. We identify as straight, homosexual, and some of us do not identify in this way at all. Our diversity is not a divider; it is a unifier. We unite to serve all families in our local communities, regardless of how different they may be from our individual views. 

We are poor. An average lead teacher makes less than $13 per hour in North Carolina. We are on welfare. We can’t afford basic rent and groceries. And many of us are on the cusp of being homeless, especially those who are single parents (about 50% of us). We work another job or two, sometimes three, to make ends meet. All we really want to do is teach, and not be poor.

We are tired of being poor. We are angry that the state-level conversation is centered only on replacing the expiring pandemic stabilization funding. That is not enough; it has never been enough. We need more. We deserve more.

Child care is infrastructure — just as essential as bridges, schools, airports, and landfills. 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.

The voter. The senator. The representative. The governor. Our children are counting on you, and we are too. Work together, please. 

Care-O-World Early Learning Centers

Care-O-World Early Learning Centers serve young children in Ayden, Chocowinity, Washington, and Winterville.