As a first time mom who worked full-time, finding out information on what childcare setting is appropriate and available for my baby seemed like a Herculean task. Who and what would I ask? What type of care would be best? How much is childcare? If you do just three days instead of all five, does that matter? Now, as a mom of two children (5 months and 3 years), one of whom is in pre-school, I am interested in knowing what my son is learning in pre-school and how I can get him ready for Kindergarten.
Luckily, when I had my first child, I had a friend who had been through it and fielded questions for me. ctworkingmoms.com actually seeks to do what I’m getting at…give working moms access to information and information sharing. But what if I didn’t have ctworkingmoms.com or a friend to help me work through these questions? What do parents do who can’t afford childcare or who work non-traditional hours do? What about a mom who doesn’t work but wants their child to attend pre-school? Or a parent who isn’t particularly happy with their childcare setting, but doesn’t realize that other options exist or struggles to afford other options?
The State of Connecticut is also grappling with these questions and more. In 2011, the State Legislature passed a law which created an Office of Early Childhood charged with developing a plan to establish a coordinated system of early care and education and child development. I know a little about this because I happen to be a policy analyst and advocate on these very issues in my work life…working to ensure that all children have access to a quality early childhood experience.
As a part of this law, the state will be developing a Quality Rating System that will assist parents in making an informed choice about what childcare is available, how it rates against other options, and what it means to be high quality. The Early Childhood Office is still in its planning phase and is seeking your input!
So, if you or anyone you know is the parent of a child aged 0-5, please take a minute to fill out the survey that the Early Childhood Office developed. It asks about your childcare experience. And…it’s available in English and Spanish! If you have any questions on the early childhood planning process, feel free to ask.