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A Little Love for Early Childcare Education Workers

Posted on: January 6th, 2021 by Kristen Miller

What does a hero look like to you?

Amidst all of the craziness of this year, the image that pops in your head is probably a person. Maybe it’s someone you know, personally.

It’s no longer a fantasy character fresh from the pages of a comic book or the big screen.

The heroes of 2020 are the essential workers. The medical professionals, farmers, grocery store workers, postal workers, and truck drivers; the delivery drivers, utility workers, K-12 educators, and manufacturing workers. 

And they deserve credit. A lot of credit. So much credit. They are true heroes.

But the hero to the heroes? 

They are the women and men working in early childhood education. 

The ones providing safe, reliable care for the next generation.

Early childcare educators.

For many essential workers, their ability to work through the pandemic rests on the shoulders of these caregivers; these smart, reliable, talented human beings.

Think about it. Even when schools were shut down back in March, many child care centers applied for a waiver and remained open.  They did this without much recognition, thanks, or any hazard pay. 

These professionals, many of them degreed teachers, did this while earning on average $9 per hour. Yes, $9 an hour.

And without them, most essential employees would not be able to work.

The essential workers taking care of our sick loved ones. Delivering groceries and toilet paper to our stores and to our homes. Growing and making those items. The men and women keeping our lights on.

I remember so clearly a conversation back in mid-March. It was the day Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf closed schools. On the other end of the line was a mother of four. A frontline worker. A medical professional. My heart ached for her.

Through her panic, her exhaustion, she shared that her children’s elementary school closed. As did her children’s childcare provider. Overnight. 

I have goosebumps thinking about it. 

For many families, grandparent care was out of the question, too, because of the nature of the virus. Many parents felt they had nowhere to turn. All of their options vanished in an instant.

Luckily, home-based family providers were able to remain open without applying for a waiver, and my organization, Child Care Consultants, Inc., connected her with the quality care her family needed.

Child care is not just an educational issue. It’s a workforce development issue. It’s an economic development issue.

Early Childhood Education is on the Leading Edge

Long before the pandemic began, child care providers operated under policies designed to keep children safe and reduce illness spread. And, as a result, they’ve had to make fewer changes than many families, businesses, and even schools to cope with the novel coronavirus. 

And since then, child care teachers stepped up. They quickly transitioned to supporting children who were learning remotely. 

Most programs are the crucial link between the K-12 teacher and the child, ensuring that the child is participating in the virtual learning, supporting students who need assistance, and helping to promote connections between the teacher and parents. 

They have secured laptops for students when school districts didn’t have enough for every child. They purchased hot spots, upgraded their WIFI, and purchased additional supplies. They set up workstations and provided PPE. 

And cleaning supplies. They have purchased so many cleaning supplies.

Most programs have greatly reduced their staff to child ratio to meet COVID guidelines and meet the increased needs of the school-age children. 

All these extra measures came with a price tag, an added financial burden. But to them, it didn’t matter. The safety of the children and their families came first.

Good Things are Happening in Central Pennsylvania

YWCA York 

Ruby Martin and YWCA York dug deep when the pandemic hit. They quickly stepped up to serve school-age children when the School District of the City of York and Charter Schools went to all remote learning. From reassigning space in their building for classrooms to increasing capacity to reduce their staff-to-child ratio, they were there to serve our children and our community.

“This has been a very trying year for a profession that is already undervalued, underfunded, and underpaid. 

Our Child Care program leadership across the state (and country), face a daily ethical dilemma opening and operating our programs to meet the needs of families and children while trying to keep staff healthy and safe during a pandemic. 

Our child care teaching staff show up each day, ready to work, without complaint; leaving their personal concerns behind to provide reliable, quality care for essential working families. 

Child Care staff are literally superheroes and deserve to be treated as such.”

‒ Ruby Martin, Chief Child and Youth Program Officer at YWCA York

Steps to Success

Michelle Harbaugh, Director of Steps to Success in Leola, acted quickly. She saw a need in her community when four school-age child care programs didn’t reopen for the 2020-21 school year.

She knew the impact it would have, on her community and the families she serves. 

Michelle, with the backing of the Steps to Success Board of Directors, went to Conestoga Valley School District and petitioned to operate the programs. 

Within a week, her request was granted and her program expanded overnight into a multi-site entity. The need for a school-age program within the district was clear and she knew her staff would provide the quality programming their children, families, and community needed. 

Steps to Success now has five locations: four learning centers for school aged and one center for infants to school age.

Child Care Consultants, Inc. 

In February 2020, we started working with staff from the human resource department of our regional healthcare system, WellSpan Health, as they began to realize that the pandemic was coming. 

They knew their essential workers would need child care, including care for their school-age children in order to continue to serve the community. Since that time, we have communicated regularly regarding the status of child care, openings, referral services, and how to ensure their essential workers could, in fact, work.

And if you ask an essential worker what is essential to them, high on his or her list would be quality child care and school-age care for their children. 

You see, most essential workers recognize the importance of early childhood education. They see the joy in their child’s face after a day of learning and playing. And watch patiently as their child shows off his or her latest worksheet or artistic creation. 

They have peace of mind that their children are being cared for, safely, which allows them to focus on the monumental job at hand. 

Early childhood educators are the backbone of our local, state, and national economies.  

How to Support Early Childhood Educators

As you know, early childcare professionals go with little recognition, support, and pay. 

And it’s time to change that.

It’s time for us to say, “We see you. We recognize your efforts and sacrifices. You are essential to essential workers. And you are essential to all of us.”  

Child Care Educators are Essential Employees

These women and men are deserving of us standing outside their programs, ringing bells, banging on pots, and cheering. 

They’re worthy of us debating whether or not it’s safe for them to remain open. 

They’re worthy of people dropping off food, gift cards, and donations of all kinds. 

Most importantly, they are deserving and worthy of increased respect and income. They are worthy of hazard pay.

Want to help?

Here’s Three Things You Can Do To Help the Industry

Show respect. 

Talk to your children about early childhood educators, the profession itself, and how much its people mean to you and your family. Reinforce their importance.

Give back. 

Pay it forward by treating your children’s favorite people extra well this holiday season. Give a gift card, drop off a meal, or give cash.

Share encouragement. 

Take a few moments to connect, to look your child’s teacher in the eyes ‒ your mask can’t take that away ‒ and smile. Ask about her or his day. Handwrite a note this holiday season telling her how much she means to you and your family. And help your little one(s) do the same.

And for the business and political leaders, and the community-at-large, remember the essential worker to the essential workers ‒ the child care workers.

Advocate for them. 

Extend your gratitude to them. 

Lift up their value, shine a light on it. 

We all know it takes a village to raise a child. 

And this year, more than ever, we recognize the talent and true abilities of early childcare educators.

There’s no forgetting it. 

The early childcare profession is important, and its people are heroes. 

They are at the center of our economic recovery. 

Let’s show them a little love.


If you are a childcare worker or provider, and you are struggling, please reach out. We are here for you, both as a resource and as a friend. 

We are in this together.


Recent Articles

No Holiday Party? Here’s How to Celebrate Instead

Are You Thinking About Starting Your Own Home Based Childcare?


About Child Care Consultants, Inc.

Child Care Consultants, Inc. (CCC) is a nonprofit centered in the heart of Pennsylvania. They, serve childcare providers and low-income families ‒ the ones that have been impacted the most by the pandemic. 

For you and your business, CCC helps keep childcare options open for your employees ‒ saving missed work hours and lowering on-the-job stress levels. They work with early childhood education programs and home-based providers to improve the quality of care, ensuring that all children enter school ready to be successful.

Christy Renjilian serves as its Executive Director.

To learn more, visit childcareconsultants.org.

No Holiday Party?! Here’s How to Celebrate Instead

Posted on: December 9th, 2020 by Kristen Miller

A Thought-Filled Approach to Reward Your Team

Last year your holiday party was perfect. Well, as close to perfect as it could be. You orchestrated a fancy gathering. Along with an impressive menu full of options sure to delight your team, your colleagues. 

The ambiance was on point. It was festive and cheerful. Upbeat, even. Full of smiles, glasses clinking in cheers.

You really outdid yourself. 

All the things your team has grown to expect with each holiday season. 

Enter 2020. Who would have imagined you’d be missing those people, the ones you used to see every day? And wishing for their company, longing for your holiday parties of years past?

This year, you are struggling, s t r u g g l i n g, to spread a little holiday cheer. You want to celebrate with your team. And they deserve it. They have really impressed you with their dedication and resourcefulness, with their ability to adapt. 

They have blown you away with their amazing response to a global pandemic.

And as much as you want to recreate that over-the-top holiday party they all love, and they all need this year, you know you can’t risk bringing everyone together. 

Have you seen the latest health numbers?! 

The good news? You can still choose happiness and cheer.

Even if your bottom-line is a little lighter than usual. And even if your business is booming, and your team has knocked it out of the park this year. 

Either way, you really want to celebrate your people ‒ your talented people ‒ that have given you and your company so much.

If you’re looking for a thoughtful plan to help you celebrate amid the chaos, I’ve got you covered.

Here’s how to plan your holiday party in 2020.

Think community. Donate and share your love.

This year more than any other you appreciate your community, the place you call home. 

As schools shifted to virtual platforms. As event after event was cancelled. You stayed home, away from the people and places you love. 

Oh how you miss that holiday concert you looked forward to every year. And your local chamber of commerce mixer. You even miss those early morning gatherings. 

What you wouldn’t give to stand side-by-side, freezing, shivering even, watching your hometown parade with pride as little ones giggle and dance. The anticipation, the magic. The bells ringing and people singing as Santa made his way down Main Street.

This year, with the money you may have saved from hosting the holiday party and from delivering those extravagant client gifts, I encourage you to think about your community. And donate that money ‒ and more, if you feel called to ‒ to your favorite local nonprofit. 

It’s a great way to cultivate a sense of community with your team, with your employees, your biggest supporters.

And you can make it fun. Maybe you have a company-wide vote to select a well-deserved nonprofit. Or maybe you create teams. You could go all out and have those teams create a short presentation on the nonprofit they selected, one that means a lot to them. 

“Nonprofits are mission-based organizations serving their communities. Today — and every day — our mission is to come together as a society and help each other. Do one small thing today to achieve that goal and we’ll get through this. Together.”

Source: Council of Nonprofits in March 2020

Give back to those serving your neighbors, your employees, their families. Show them that we are in this together.

Make an end-of-year donation to a local nonprofit. 

Food. It’s all about the food. 

Yes, your people still want to gather, even though it looks a little different this year. And they still want to eat. The emphasis here is on nourishment. 

Let’s face it, in years past the food was always the talk of the party. Yes, it will look different. But you have lots of options.

For starters, you could treat each member with a gift card to a local restaurant. They are easy to distribute and offer each team member the opportunity to select their favorite meal.

Another alternative are boxed meals. This works best if your team is local. 

Reach out to one of your favorite local restaurants, you may be surprised with their creativity and holiday specials. And let’s face it, they would love your business.

“Our industry operates on a small margin, which has been even more strained this year as we adjust to keep our community safe. My hope is that you can find it in your heart to give back this year so that we can be here to serve you for more years to come.”

‒ Toni Calderone, Owner of Tutoni’s Restaurant, Herb & Herd, Cantina, Aviano’s, and Presto! Scratch Pasteria 

It’s been a tough year for the hospitality industry. 

Just like you, and the nonprofit leaders in your community, they have been up at night wondering how in the world they will make the next payroll. How they will handle increased expenses, and when the next regulation or change will be mandated. 

And how they will adjust. Yet again.

These are good people. Business women, business men, mothers, fathers, little league coaches ‒ and sponsors. These folks are the backbone of our communities.

And they are feeling the financial impact. 

“The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates – suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country.”

‒ Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs

As you plan your alternative to the holiday party, show your support to the restaurant industry and give your team something to talk about for years to come.

Gifts. Your team will thank you.

Who doesn’t like a surprise? A thoughtful gift can turn around someone’s day, week, and month. 

I received one recently, and it deeply impacted me. 

This Thanksgiving, I was on my own. My husband was out of town, my kids were in their respective cities and states ‒ one wrapping up her collegiate degree, the other working in his chosen field. With travel bans and safety precautions, we were unable to celebrate together. 

But a few close friends decided to surprise me with a gift. The gift of nourishment and holiday cheer. They brought a plate of Thanksgiving goodness to my doorstep.

It was a surprise and a gesture that I’ll always remember. In this year of so much loss, so much change, it was a welcomed gift. 

So this year, in addition to the seasonal bonus you give your team ‒  yes, they’ve earned it ‒ include a small token of appreciation. A little something that shows how much you care. 

It could be a small gift basket filled to the brim with locally made items. A set of luxury hand soap and lotion would be divine ‒ all of our hands could use a little pampering. Or a small set of office essentials, maybe an upscale notepad and pen.

“Covid has changed everything, including the way we shop and what we buy.  As a small boutique owner, I’ve willingly shifted what I source to become even more of a place of surprise and delight than ever before because that’s what’s needed in this world right now.  

Owning a small business has also allowed me the flexibility to offer unique ways to shop that make the customer feel safe and comfortable based on their own personal preferences.”

‒ Lisa Weigard, Owner of Soulshine Boutique

Bless your team and a local business. They’ve been through it, too. And would love your support.

Let your creativity shine. 

You could purchase a gingerbread house or cookie decorating kit from a local bakery for each team member. How fun?! Or a local experience ‒ a ticket to a drive-through light show with a snack ‒ locally made popcorn or pretzels. Or whatever your town is known for.

Look, you know your people. You know what will bring them a little extra joy this holiday season. So go on, shop local and surprise them. They will thank you.

Gather. Safely, remotely, celebrate as a team.

You’ve planned all the things. A heartfelt donation, food, and gifts. You’re getting excited for the holidays. For the end of 2020, and the start of 2021.

Now, it’s time to bring your people together. Virtually.

This isn’t just another virtual meeting. It’s special. Full of fun and smiles. And festive. So festive. 

Look, this may not be your strong suit. It definitely isn’t mine. But I know my people. And I know who excels in this area. In fact, we have a committee for such things. Yes, a committee.

My advice? Recruit your more festive talent to help you brainstorm. Or even better, to plan the whole thing.

A few ideas, to jumpstart your plan. 

First things first, schedule it. Send out the invite and label it something fun.

Next, think about the mood. The feelings you want the gathering to evoke. It’s not just another all-team zoom meeting. It’s a celebration. So play some festive music. Or wear reindeer antlers and your favorite tacky sweater. Or change up your digital background to bring the cheer. 

And make it interactive. Play games, sing songs, go around and share the things you’re thankful for. Plan an activity to encourage your team to join in on the celebration. And be sure to keep it kid-friendly.

This year is one for the record books. Your team will look back at this year, this holiday season, and remember it. The goal is for them to remember your efforts fondly. To know that in a year of change, of hardship, of loss and struggle, you were there for them. Your company was there for them. Just like they were there for you. 

So bring the joy. And the fun. And show your team how much they mean to you. 

Donations. Food. Gifts. It’s the trifecta.

Even though things look very, very differently this year, you can still reward your team. And strengthen your local economy. And gather, safely.

Let’s celebrate the people around us. 

And let’s support the nonprofits we love, the restaurants we love, and the local businesses we love. With all we have given up this year, we do not have to give that up.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.


Child Care Consultants, Inc. (CCC) is a nonprofit centered in the heart of Pennsylvania. They are the backbone of the economy, serving childcare providers and low-income families ‒ the ones that have been impacted the most by the pandemic. 

For you and your business, CCC helps keep childcare options open for your employees ‒ saving missed work hours and lowering on-the-job stress levels. They work with early childhood education programs and home-based providers to improve the quality of care, ensuring that all children enter school ready to be successful.

Christy Renjilian serves as its Executive Director.

To learn more and to donate, visit childcareconsultants.org.


Sources:

Which small businesses are most vulnerable to COVID-19–and when

How We Can Support Each Other and Our Communities During the Coronavirus

Resources in South-Central Pennsylvania:

Give Local York Participating Nonprofits

United Way of York County Partner Agencies

York County Economic Alliance Members by Category

Are you thinking about starting your own home based child care?

Posted on: June 15th, 2020 by Kristen Miller

Due to an order from the Governor, Child Care Consultants will be working from home.

Posted on: March 16th, 2020 by Kristen Miller

All providers will receive CCW payments for ALL enrolled children regardless of their attendance or whether or not your program is closed.  No CCW clients will be suspended from the program due to attendance.
If you need to send documents, please email them to info@childcareconsultants.org, your caseworker or mail them. We will be processing US mail and items left in our Lemoyne or York drop box daily. Refer to emails sent to you from CCC staff and the CCC e-newsletter for more details.  We apologize for the inconvenience. Stay safe.  Thank you.

Waitlist Update!

Posted on: November 13th, 2019 by Kristen Miller

ELRC Region 9 (Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and Perry Counties) currently does not have a waiting list.

ELRC Region 10 (Adams, Lancaster and York Counties)
now has a waitlist date of 11/3/2020.

Congratulations Child Care Consultants!

Posted on: November 13th, 2019 by Kristen Miller
Child Care Consultants has been named one of the 2019 Game Changers: Business of the Year award winners.

Game Changers recognizes Central PA’s most dynamic and impactful businesses and business leaders who share a commitment to professional excellence, business growth and the community.

https://www.cpbj.com/event/2019-game-changers/

Posted on: April 24th, 2019 by Kristen Miller

United Way of York County Partner Agency

Posted on: September 27th, 2018 by Kristen Miller

Find Child Care in Pennsylvania

Posted on: August 24th, 2018 by Kristen Miller

Finding quality child care programs has never been easier, thanks to www.findchildcare.pa.gov!

OCDEL Announces Increased Payment Rates for Providers

Posted on: July 23rd, 2018 by Kristen Miller
Action required for providers. The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has announced it is increasing payment rates to child care providers serving children in subsidized care. Effective August 1, 2018, the Child Care Works (CCW) program will lift the base rate freeze for STAR 1 and STAR 2 providers, as well as apply a general Maximum Child Care Allowance (MCCA) base rate increase of 2.5% across all counties, provider types, STAR levels and care levels. STAR 1 and STAR 2 providers being paid below the MCCA will be paid the lower of their private-pay rates or the MCCA.
Please note:
Child care providers will receive a packet in the mail containing a new Provider Agreement and instructions on updating your rates. Providers will have the opportunity to increase/update their rates through the new agreement for certified providers. Please return the Provider Agreement completed page one (1) and signed page six (6) along with your “Appendix C-1 ELRC Subsidized Child Care Provider Reported Rates” and your published private-pay rates.
In order to be paid for the month of August, all providers in ELRC Regions 9 and 10 must submit to Child Care Consultants, Inc. the following:
  • Provider Agreement completed page one (1) and signed page six (6)
  • “Appendix C-1 ELRC Subsidized Child Care Provider Reported Rates”
  • Published private-pay rates
Child Care Consultants, Inc. must receive this information by 8/5/18.
Please return to:
Child Care Consultants, Inc.
ELRC Regions 9 & 10
29 N. Duke Street
York, PA 17401
Providers can contact Rebecca Anciso at 717-771-8541 or ranciso@childcareconsultants.org with questions or for further assistance.