Q&A: Celeste Swoboda on Wisconsin State Journal child care cover story

The following Q&A is in response to the Special Report on Child Care (read: pt.1, pt. 2) published by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Celeste Swoboda is a WECA Board member, former president of the Wisconsin Family Child Care Association, and a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship recipient. She owns Teddy Bear Totland child care, a 5-star rated program in Chippewa Falls, WI.

Q: You’ve been a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipient. Tell us a little about your T.E.A.C.H. experience. What advice do you have for child care providers thinking about applying for a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship?

A: My first T.E.A.C.H. experience was with my Infant/Toddler Credential. Having the scholarship gave me an opportunity to go back to school and not worry about the expense of the classes. I have enjoyed working on my Administrators and Leadership credentials and Associate’s Degree through T.E.A.C.H. My advice is to call WECA—they are very helpful with any questions that you might have. I found that I have learned so much going back to school and the children in my care have benefited from the steps I have taken.

Q: What school courses have been most valuable to your career as a child care provider? Continue reading

Q&A: Family child care provider, Xochitl Ortega on Wisconsin State Journal child care cover story

The following Q&A is in response to the Special Report on Child Care two-part cover story (read: pt.1, pt. 2) published by the Wisconsin State Journal.

ImageXochitl Ortega is a bilingual family child care provider and a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipient. She owns X’s and O’s Educational Child Care, an Accredited 5-star rated program, in Milwaukee, WI. She is also a member of the the T.E.A.C.H. & REWARD Steering Committee and a board member of the Wisconsin Family Child Care Association. She is active in the Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition and the West Allis Family Child Care Association Support Group, and serves as an Ambassador for The Registry. She received her associate’s degree from Northwest Technical College in Green Bay and is completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Q: We know you’ve been a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipient. Tell us a little about your T.E.A.C.H. experience. What advice do you have for any child care providers thinking about applying for a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship? Continue reading

Thanks to all who’ve responded to “the missing link” posting.

Thanks to all who’ve responded to “missing link” posting. It has sparked lively discussion. Despite a variety of perspectives, it’s important to name the common goal we all share:  We all strive for quality because we value children, their families, and the important work we do.  So, let’s keep the dialog open and let’s explore solutions to challenges, but let’s also celebrate the tremendous gains we have made to improve child care quality.

A few highlights:

FOOD PROGRAM

  • 3 out of 4 family child care providers in Wisconsin participate in a Food Program – funded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.  WECA alone processes almost $400,000 in claims monthly.

T.E.A.C.H. and REWARD

  • Annually, Wisconsin allocates $4M to T.E.A.C.H. scholarships that provide accessible and affordable education for child care providers and to REWARD stipends.
  • 1,100 child care providers participate in T.E.A.C.H. and 84% of them work in 2 and 3 star programs.  Last year 1,612 providers received REWARD stipends.

YoungStar

  • With YoungStar funding, over 3,000 Micro-Grants have been awarded – a $2.2M commitment to materials and resources for quality improvement within child care settings.
  • To date almost 15,000 on-site technical consulting visits were made to over 4,000 child care programs, and 1,500 hours of training has been provided.
  • 3,065 programs have been contacted by the Professional Development Counseling service, including all 2-star programs in Milwaukee. The service is offered free of charge.

Wisconsin’s children deserve the best possible start through quality early care. Thank you for your commitment to Wisconsin’s children.