Low Wages for Child Care Workers

This week a Wall Street Journal blog, “The Juggle,” featured a thought provoking entry about how critical high-quality child care workers are and how poorly they are compensated for their work. “The Lowly Child-Care Worker” by Sue Shellenbarger reveals that a recent study by CareerCast.com compared 200 occupations (based on things like wages, working environment, and stress) and ranked child care workers in the 186th spot. She also mentions that “Child-care center directors’ median annual pay is only $34,233, according to Payscale.com, and child-care workers themselves make only $23,437, barely exceeding the federal poverty threshold for a family of four.” Read the full article here.

For anyone familiar with, or working in, the field of early education, this article is not surprising. The low wages reported are, in fact, very similar to the wages we recently found in a 2010 Wisconsin child care workforce study. According to the study, current median annual wages in the field are: $29,751 for center directors, $23,608 for group child care teachers, and $21,060 for family child care providers. Read the full workforce study brief here.

What do you think about wages in the early education field? Can they be increased by charging parents/families more or must there be other sources of funding (more public investment, more businesses that open child care facilities for their employees with private dollars)?

WECA is Hiring for YoungStar Related Positions!

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) is now hiring for many positions to help launch YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system. These positions will reflect a full spectrum of new opportunities to run the program. Key positions we are hiring for include a Program Coordinator, Technical Consultants, Trainers and Assessors. These positions require a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood (or related field) and a minimum of 4 years experience in Early Childhood. Experience with ECERS/FCCERS and/or early education training and technical assistance preferred. Positions will be open in our Madison and Milwaukee offices as well as statewide for trainers or assessors.

We are also seeking administrative and support staff for the YoungStar program to work out of our Madison office. Openings include administrative assistants, program support and financial specialists. Depending on the position, these require a minimum of a high school diploma plus experience or an associate’s degree.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply indicating what area interested and minimum salary requirements. Competitive salary and benefits. WECA is an AA/EO Employer. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please submit cover letter and professional resume to:
HR Manager
Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
744 Williamson St., Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703.
Or email HR@wisconsinearlychildhood.org

Thanks at Thanksgiving

Have you received a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin scholarship and completed courses in early education? Do you participate in the R.E.W.A.R.D.™ Wisconsin stipend program? Are you able to better serve nutritious food to children at your child care program because you are enrolled in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)? If yes, please take a minute to send a message of thanks to your state representatives.

Find out who your representatives are by clicking here and entering your home address. Let them know how T.E.A.C.H., R.E.W.A.R.D., and/or the CACFP have helped and supported you to become a high-quality child care provider!

WECA would also like to send a big THANK YOU this Thanksgiving to all Wisconsin early education professionals and their families. Thank you for providing quality care to young children across the state.

Call-in for kids: November 15, 2010

Congress is back in Washington on Monday, November 15 and has limited time to do some important work: ensure that funding is not cut for child care and Head Start before the end of the year.

Without sufficient funding, as many as to 300,000 children could be dropped from child care and Head Start. Your support could ensure that these children continue to receive care. Also, encourage Congress to create the Early Learning Challenge Fund to encourage states to do even better for young children and families.

Congress is considering appropriations bills that could go backwards in spending for child care and Head Start, and would lose the Early Learning Challenge Fund. Help us tell Congress to move forward and adequately fund the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Early Learning Challenge Fund.

What can you do?
Call Congress on Monday, November 15!
• Call 1-888-460-0813
• The first person to answer the phone will be an operator who will ask how you want to be connected. Tell the operator the name of your Member of Congress. (Not sure? Look it up here or use http://action.nwlc.org/find_your_elected_officials)
• Once you are connected to the office of your Member of Congress, a staff person will answer the phone. Tell the staff person:
• My name is (name) and I am calling from (city, state). I am a constituent and a (your role: parent, family child care provider, early education advocate, etc.).
• Please make sure that continued funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start is NOT REDUCED in the appropriations bill and that the Early Learning Challenge Fund is included. Funding cuts could drop as many as 300,000 children from child care and Head Start, and the Early Learning Challenge Fund can help states improve the quality of care offered.
• We are counting on you here in Wisconsin. Thank you.

Upcoming Grant Opportunity for Early Education Professionals

Do you have a great idea for a project that will enhance your early education program? Can you complete your initiative for $500 or less? If you answered yes to both questions, the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation is offering an ideal opportunity for you. In partnership with TYLENOL®, the foundation is now accepting applications for their 2011 National Child Care Teacher Awards™. The awards recognize the dedication and ingenuity of child care professionals who wish to improve children’s earliest experiences. Recipients will receive $500 for their own use, and $500 for their proposed program or project. Additionally, one of the top ten award recipients will be selected to receive The Helene Marks Award™. The recipient will have the honor of being named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year, and receive an additional $1,000. Applications must be completed and postmarked by December 6, 2010. Click here to learn more and to download an application form.

Copyright Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation


WECA to present at NAEYC Conference: “I’m a Teacher, not a Babysitter!”

The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Annual Conference & Expo is happening next week from November 3-6th in Anaheim, CA! We’ll be there- will you?

If you’re attending the conference, we invite you to join us as we co-present a creative and important session entitled “I’m a teacher, not a babysitter: Songs to celebrate the child care profession.” In 2008-09 Wisconsin Early Childhood Association worked with songwriter Stuart Stotts to document the critical work of child care providers. The songs created reflect a variety of attitudes, activities, challenges, and joys involved in the job of working with young children. Come to be inspired, informed, and to share perspectives on this essential work.

Presenters: Stuart Stotts, Songwriter, and Amy Schuster, Wisconsin Early Childhood Assocation
When/Where: November 4, 2-3:30, 206 A/B in the Convention Center

We hope to see you there! Visit Stuart’s “I’m a Teacher, Not a Babysitter” website to learn more about the project and his music.

Stuart Stotts sings with early care and education professionals at the 2009 WECA Conference


Have you Registered for the WECA Conference Yet?

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association’s 56th annual conference begins in Madison in just one month from today! Have you registered yet? With over 60 sessions that have been designed to promote excellence in early care and education, the 3-day WECA conference is the place to be November 11-13.

This year’s conference theme is Nurturing Quality Together. Quality is on everyone’s mind these days. The WECA conference offers keynotes, featured sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibits to inspire quality practices in early education and care. Join WECA, Wisconsin Division for Early Childhood, and your colleagues to strengthen your business practices, create quality learning environments, nurture health and wellness, and boost your professional qualifications. Register now and don’t miss out!

You can also look to WECA’s annual conference for a one-stop shop for training in all YoungStar categories! To help improve your learning experience, we’ve organized our workshops into several topic areas- including sessions specific to YoungStar, family child care providers, directors, infant/toddlers, and more. Learn more here.

New Sessions Added to Help Prepare You for YoungStar!

WECA has added NEW training sessions on the Social-Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (SEFEL) pyramid model, the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS), and question-based business planning. These trainings are in addition to several others that have been taking place across the state since September. Learn more about all of WECA’s trainings for programs preparing for YoungStar, Wisconsin’s new Quality Rating and Improvement System, or click here to view the training opportunities by county. For more information on YoungStar, and on other agencies offering pre-YoungStar training, visit the DCF YoungStar web page.

SEFEL Pyramid Model Overview $5
October 13, 6-8pm: Milwaukee
October 20, 6-8pm: Wausau
October 27, 6-8pm: Eau Claire
December 8, 6-8pm: Live webinar.
Register now

WMELS Full Training in Milwaukee $40
November 6 and November 13, La Causa Family Resource Center
December 11 and December 18, Child Development Center of St Joseph
Register now

Question-Based Business Planning $10
December 1, 6-8pm UW-Milwaukee
December 2, 6-8pm Madison
December 8, 6-8pm La Crosse
December 9, 6-8pm Eau Claire
Register now

Talking to Children: What if Mom, Dad, or Grandma Has Cancer?

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month the Monona Public Library is hosting a FREE workshop on using books and other resources to discuss cancer with children from preschool age through young teens. This program is targeted to child care providers, parents and caregivers. Continuing education credits may be available.

The FREE presentation will highlight books, DVDs and other materials that the library has purchased through a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure-Madison. Materials will be available for checkout through all 52 libraries in the South Central Library System.

Date: Wed Oct 6
Time: 6pm-7:15pm
Location: Monona Public Library
1000 Nichols Road
Monona, WI
*Refreshments will be provided!

To register and find out more visit http://www.mononalibrary.org/

Get Professional Development Support as You Prepare for YoungStar

Are you trying to decide what professional development choices you should make to help you reach your goals? Or to help you reach the benchmarks in YoungStar? Do you wonder if higher education is right for you? WECA is here to help with a NEW, free professional development planning service!

One of the main goals of YoungStar is to improve the care and education of young children by having better educated and trained staff working with those children. To help providers prepare for this part of YoungStar, WECA has received funding to provide assistance in professional development planning. This service will be provided over the phone to people employed in early childhood education or child care who want to hear about the options for training and education available in the state of Wisconsin. This could include:

* Exploring your short and long term goals for your own professional development
* Choosing what kind of professional development is right for you
* Scholarships for credit based education (through the T.E.A.C.H. program)
* Learning about credit for prior learning options
* Discussing upcoming trainings and resources to support participation in the YoungStar program.
* And much more!

Visit our website to learn how you can take advantage of the professional development planning service through WECA!