One of the best ways to understand what the term “high-quality early education” means is to see it first-hand. By hosting legislative visits in your child care program, you can give legislators an opportunity to do just that! Because your US representatives will be in recess throughout August, now is a great time to invite them to come and experience your early education program. During each visit, you can take some time to discuss the federal and state legislation that affects your work every day. When you build these relationships with your legislators, it will pay off in the future when you contact them to be supportive of (or opposed to) a particular bill or program.
Don’t think you could have a legislator visit you program? Brenda Wagner- a Director and Lead Teacher of the Discovery on Dousman child care center in Wauzeka, Wisconsin- TRIED IT and here’s what happened:
Brenda started inviting legislators to visit her program several years ago to celebrate the Week of the Young Child (WOYC). She found legislative visits on a list of suggested WOYC activities and decided to give it a try. Brenda went online, found out who her legislators were, and sent them email invitations. She didn’t think they would respond – but they did, and the visits have become a yearly event. This year both Senator Dan Kapanke and Representative Lee Nerison visited.
At first Brenda was nervous about having legislators visit her program, but now she would advise others to “just relax and do it!” because it’s not as hard as it sounds. Her legislators have always been friendly, down to earth, and excited about visiting. They visited with staff members, got down to each child’s level, and participated in some activities. They asked questions about what a typical day was like, inquired about staff, and were always amazed at how well-behaved the children were! Brenda also used some of her time to discuss the R.E.W.A.R.D. ™ WISCONSIN stipend program and how she benefits from it.
Are you ready to TRY IT too? Find out who your legislators are by clicking here and entering your home address. Contact us if you would like assistance with scheduling a visit or download a “tool kit” from The Early Care and Education Consortium to use when preparing for a visit. If you TRY IT, leave a comment to let us know how it went- we would love to hear from you!