In 2016, Gov. Nathan Deal officially proclaimed May as Georgia Child Care Provider Month, acknowledging the important contributions made by the state’s child care industry to Georgia’s economy and its youngest citizens and families. Each year, this industry employs close to 70,000 people and generates more than $2.45 billion annually to the state’s economy, with another $2.24 billion economic increase due to the industry’s workers spending their earnings.
Beyond the economic impact this industry provides, Georgia’s child care workers are laying the foundation for the state’s future workforce. Across Georgia, more than 337,000 young children (from birth to 5 years of age) are in regular care with someone other than their parents on a daily basis. Receiving high-quality care and learning during these early years is instrumental to attaining success in learning and later in life.
“Georgia’s child care providers play a critical role in the development and care of our smallest citizens. Without them, many parents would have to depend on less safe and consistent care for their children,” said Pam Tatum, president and chief executive officer of Quality Care for Children, which works, accoridng to its website, “to ensure that Georgia’s infants and young children are nurtured and educated.”
“The brain develops the most in the first five years of life, making those experiences vital to the overall health and wellness of a child,” Tatum said.
Decades of research has proven that children who receive high-quality care from birth have a greater chance at a successful future. They are more likely to have higher cognitive development and social attachments; begin kindergarten “ready to learn”; enjoy better health with less risk for obesity and fewer sick days; stay away from drugs, not be incarcerated and not have a teen pregnancy, graduate from high school and attend college and earn a higher wage in the workforce
“Georgia’s child care providers work tirelessly to provide safe, nurturing and high-quality learning environments without much recognition and for little pay. Our goal is to increase awareness of the vital service they provide and express our appreciation for doing it so well,” said Tatum.
As part of the month, QCC is launching an online campaign to recognize and thank Georgia’s child care professionals. Individuals are encouraged to signup online to learn more about the campaign and ways that you can participate. Additionally, the nonprofit is providing ways everyone can celebrate child care workers:
—Thank a child care worker: Showing appreciation to our state’s child care providers doesn’t have to be costly or time-intensive. Some simple ideas are to create a handwritten note or picture with your child; take them flowers or their favorite candy. Visit QCC’s Georgia Child Care Provider Month page to find more ideas and see our dedicated Pinterest page.
—Show your love on social media: Share a picture of your child and teacher, or a simple “thank you” message on social media during the month of May, using the hashtags #ThankYourChildCareProvider and #EarlyEdGa.
Quality Care for Children( provides on-site consulting, training, business resources and nutrition programs to child care programs and supports parents with a free referral service and tuition assistance for low-income families. Please visit www.QualityCareforChildren.org or call (404) 479-4181 for more information.