This has been the burning question since I was a new ECE teacher in the early 1980s. Why has this perspective been so pervasive over the years? I have asked myself this question so many times. Being in the field for sooo long, and being paid soooo poorly sends a message that our value in society is at the bottom of the totem pole.
Why is that? What brought this to us and continues in 2020?
What can we do to break this societal perspective that anyone can do what we do- even a 14 yr old babysitter?
Calling us babysitters, society is saying: You don’t need experience, even maturity and child development or any academic credentials to look after children My 14 yr old neighbor babysits for us all the time. How hard can it be? But don’t you dare risk my child’s health and well being and make sure you are responsive and knowledgeable enough to meet their ever-changing developmental needs and know what to do in any emergency or medical situation that may occur while they are in your care. But society can only pay you barely above minimum wage, no paid sick days, sometimes no benefits and pension are out of the question and min vacation time to do this job.
What can break this pervasive message that society has about Early Childhood Educators and the Child Care field?
One way Child Care Solutions is addressing this is through education –providing both parents and early childhood professionals with online interactive workshops in addition to launching a video training library for various levels of knowledge ECE professionals need to do their job for the greatest impact.
Knowledge and putting evidence-based research into practice will help to dispel the “babysitter” profile through the ECE’s ability to articulate to parents and society how they are helping children in their care develop self-regulation skills, cognitive skills, gross motor, and social skills to give a strong foundation before starting into the school system.
Do parents and society even care about that aspect? I would love to hear people’s perspectives in terms of other solutions to breaking this message so if I am here on earth another 30 years, child care will not be in the same place as it is now 37 years later after I started teaching in this field.