“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” –Ani DiFranco

As consultants at the YWCA, our job is more than just telling providers about ExceleRate, although I’m sure we’ve created that label for ourselves! Through our observations, it has been reinforced that a positive and engaged daycare setting starts with a positive and engaged daycare provider.

Let’s think about it this way:

Accessibility

When a provider has access to a variety of current resources, the children remain engaged in learning through play. As a provider, are you aware of the local, free or low cost materials and activity boxes available to you? What about local professionals that can teach music, give tours of their workplace, or expand on specific interests of your children? Let’s say each child care provider in our SDA knows about two different resources, combined that’s over 1,500 resources! Imagine if you were knowledgeable about even five more resources than you currently are? Would this give variety to your day-to-day activities? Would your children be excited about a dental themed kit from the YWCA Lending Library? How engaged would your infants and toddlers be with a busy box full of process art materials?

Maybe all you need is a refresher on how to grow your nature walks into scavenger hunts, or lunch time into a cooking class? No one knows better than all of you. It is our goal to bring providers together to share what activities your program loves, so that all children have access to them.

Communication

When providers have colleagues that understand exactly what their needs, struggles, accomplishments and professional goals are, they can assist each other rather than isolating themselves. As small business owners, working out of your homes, there is no traditional method of networking. Child Care Associations are one avenue providers have used to network and associations are thriving. For some providers, associations can be intimidating if you do not know any current members, or for those new to the profession, associations may be undiscovered. We want to provide an additional and comprehensive networking space for providers to exchange common experiences.

Inclusion

It is important to feel part of a community. Over the years providers have met, formed relationships and created supports through interactions at trainings and other professional development events. This makes sense because likeminded people are in a room learning about a common interest and conversation easily sparks. These relationships create accountability, professionalism, confidence and self-worth. A provider who feels confident in their decisions about learning theories, discipline and interactions creates a safe and secure environment for children.

Setting a Foundation

A home provider’s day starts early and ends late, includes dirty dishes, sticky floors, overflowing trash cans and the wish for another set of hands. It’s hard work and it’s rewarding work. You have the chance to elevate to another level of business by connecting with those who have already created the wheel. Please join us at future Dinner ‘n Learns which foster networking, brainstorming and problem solving.