Do Something.

Remember those annoying camp songs you sang every year, particularly the ones that repeated themselves with the ending, “Same song, different verse, a little bit louder and a little bit worse?”

Welcome to the state of America’s children.

As this article clearly states, our future isn’t looking any better than it was a few years ago (no, we don’t need shades for this one).  The number of children living below the poverty line is increasing; families are having an even harder time raising tomorrow’s leaders.

How can we expect great things to happen here when parents spend 30% of their income on child care alone? Child care which, for the most part, isn’t even exceptional, isn’t really preparing our children for the task of starting school.

We live in a society where people will stand in line for hours just to be among the first to buy the newest smart phone, yet we won’t stand up for providing the best early care and education for our children.

We should all adhere to Frederick Douglass’s insight: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

How long will it take us to realize that we are only hurting ourselves? We don’t need to focus so much on amending the problem as we do in preventing it.

Here’s my challenge to you: do one thing this month for our children. For five minutes, get off your social network, put down your smart phone, press “pause” on your DVR. Take a few minutes to take the first step in creating a better economic future for Alabama. Here are some suggestions: {links to all will be given}

There is no better time than now: what are you waiting for?

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The Time is Now

Imagine this:
You spend $150 per week on care for yourself. This “care” is advertised as supposedly preparing you for a future career, exercising your mind and body.
What you end up getting is several hours a day with a group of others like yourself, all being cared for by someone who doesn’t understand the best ways to teach you and isn’t clear on exactly what you should be able to do.
Would you demand a refund by the end of the week?
My guess is yes. And yet, for roughly 40% of our children under the age of five in Alabama, this is their reality. Child care in the United States is too often seen as glorified babysitting. Programs advertise using a curriculum and offering activities, but, more often than not, children are simply allowed to do as they please (within reason…most of the time). Our “standards” are not where they should be; they don’t look out for our children’s best interests.
Why, you ask? Easy: our society doesn’t put enough emphasis on the importance of the earliest years. We worry about our children once they get to the public school system, but pass over them until then.
It’s hard to turn on any media source without hearing or seeing the latest “hot topic” these days, mainly gun control. Society is crying out for the right and responsibility to protect our children, but what about their right to a solid educational foundation? Where are those supporters?
Social change doesn’t happen with silence and passivity.
The time has come, dear friends, to start getting angry at the injustice of early childhood education and our young children; after all, these will be our leaders and lawmakers soon enough. Shouldn’t we want them to have the best start?
Learn more about what Childcare Resources does to assist local early childhood teachers, families, the community, and what you can do to help!
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We Need a Contest Winner!

The Fairy Tale Ball is only two days away, and Princess Merida is busy sharpening her skills for the dance floor.  (Hey, she’s already a great shot at archery, why not?)

She has also been practicing her signature and stocking up on pens, since every child receives a souvenir book with plenty of room for autographs. She just knows she’ll be the talk of the Ball and sign more autographs than any other character! After all, all of the children will have the opportunity to play in her enchanted forest and play games.

Speaking of stocking up on pens, Childcare Resources Resource and Referral team keeps a large quantity on hand too! Our Supplemental Child Care Program (SCCP) assists eligible parents with paying for the cost of child care. Based on a sliding scale related to family size and income, parents pay a portion of the cost of care and Childcare Resources pays the rest.  Lots of pens are needed to complete all of the applications necessary to apply, but it is well worth the time and effort!

Helping local families afford quality child care is a vital aspect of Childcare Resources.  Many working families turn to us to assist their needs, but when funding is low, our services are limited.  Due to decreases in government funding for SCCP, as of May 15, 2012, we have suspended further applications for this vital program.

Your ticket purchase to the Fairy Tale Ball provides the support needed to sustain and grow the programs offered by Childcare Resources – programs that help give our children the best start in life.

Birmingham was recently named the third largest metro area for charitable giving. We hope you will consider contributing to our area’s generosity by attending the Ball and making memories with your family!

You never know, you might end up on television.  Our good friends at CBS 42 are a generous supporter and will be there to check out all the fun too!

Contest Alert!

It’s always great to look your best if you appear on television, right? Make sure you princess or wizard is ready by entering our hairstyle contest! You must be a verified guest (meaning you need to have purchased tickets in advance) to enter. The winner will be chosen tomorrow at 12:00 pm. Don’t miss out on another fun experience to add to your family’s Fairy Tale Ball memories!

A special thanks goes out to XCell Academy for sponsoring the contest!

Will the Old Woman in the Shoe Make it to the Ball?

With three days to go, the Old Woman in the Shoe is about to cry. She has all these children but has no idea what to do with any of them. She’s so busy she might have to miss the Fairy Tale Ball!

Thankfully, she recently decided to turn her shoe into a child development center, hired a few child care providers and enrolled other children to attend as well. Now she is eligible for four of Childcare Resources’ great programs!

The first thing the Old Woman did was sign up to participate in the Early Learning Resource Library and Van. Now the Old Woman can check out children’s books, make die cuts and laminate materials. Yesterday, when she realized one of the teachers wanted to teach her class about insects, she was able to check out a book to help that teacher plan the lessons, as well as a theme box full of insect activities! Plus, once a month, a van with library resources visits the shoe school for teachers to browse and check out items.

(Oh, and the best part? Parents can join too! Stop by and fill out an application!)

One of her classroom teachers is having difficulties with implementing circle time activities. Thankfully, Childcare Resources has “Training with a Purpose,” a program designed to provide topic specific, hands on technical assistance in this classroom. Now, in addition to specialized training, the teacher will have the opportunity to see an experienced child development consultant “in action.”

I’m sure the Old Woman’s infants and toddlers take up a great deal of her time—they have so many needs! The Old Woman could apply to participate in the Infant Toddler Program. The Infant Toddler Program offers free training, one-on-one consultations, program assessments, and classroom stipends to participating child care centers to improve the quality of care in their infant and toddler classrooms.

In a few years, the Old Woman might decide to apply to an accreditation program.  Childcare Resources will assist her through RISE (Reaching Improvement through Self-Evaluation). The program offers free training, one-on-one consultations, program assessments, and classroom stipends to child care programs interested in working towards reaching national accreditation standards and improving the quality of early care they offer at their child care center.

The Old Woman never would have been able to attend the Ball without the support of Childcare Resources. To show her appreciation, she’s bringing her shoe for all the children to play in at the Ball—don’t miss out!

(At the moment, the Old Woman is busy at the doctor’s office with a handful of sick children—good thing she has great health insurance through one of the Fairy Tale Ball’s corporate sponsors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama!

There’s always a wait, but thankfully she brought along the lastest edition of Birmingham Magazine to read. (They are a 2012 Fairy Tale Ball Sponsor too!)

Snow White: On a Mission to Care for the Seven Dwarfs

Four days until the Fairy Tale Ball, and Snow White is as busy as ever! Not only does she have housework to do, she also serves as a teacher and mediator among the seven dwarfs!

Did you know that Alabama has Minimum Standards regarding licensed child care providers? From class size to release policies, these businesses are regulated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources to ensure basic needs of those attending child care facilities.

Snow White seems a bit stressed right now. Perhaps she needs to attend one of Childcare Resources training sessions—many of which are offered at no cost to the participant. Our professional child development consultants deliver sessions in a variety of categories, from health and safety to language development, from administration and management to positive guidance and discipline.

And the best part? These classes, while designed for child care providers, are available and free to parents as well. So, come and learn the secrets to early childhood development–you won’t regret the amount of knowledge you acquire in each session (plus, there’s the added bonus of fun, games, fellowship and the entertaining personality of each of our trained child development specialists).

If Snow White hadn’t taken a bite of that poisoned apple, I’m SURE she would have stayed awake for her session on positive guidance this week (Don’t fret: the apple tarts at the Ball won’t put you into a deep sleep –unless you want them too, that is! We won’t tell!).

So, come out and support those who will provide the leadership and vision of our economy: attend the Fairy Tale Ball and have a positive impact on our future!

{In case you missed it, please watch the video in the link above.)

And, speaking of preparing for the future, check out one of our corporate sponsors: Protective Life Corporation.


John D. Johns, Chairman, President and CEO, is this year’s Fairy Tale Ball Honorary Chairman.

What’s the llama doing Six Days before the Ball

Yes, I said llama. “But wait,” you say, “I don’t recall a fairy tale featuring a llama.”

Neither can I. (But I’m sure there were lots of llamas roaming around in the background of fairy tales. . . ).

Childcare Resources supports family activities. We believe that children learn best from their parents through daily interactions and shared experiences.  Our work supports parents in their role as their child’s first and most important teacher by offering resources, programs and “Parenting Counts” workshops.

Childcare Resources’ experienced child development consultants are eager to provide these services for you—contact us to schedule a session!

One easy way to spend time together every day is reading books.  In fact, we will be encouraging this activity at the Fairy Tale Ball.  Guess who will also be there?

You guessed it: a llama!  Make sure to visit the “Llama Llama Read-a-Rama” area during the Fairy Tale Ball. Stop by to read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and meet Tatoo  (courtesy of AlaLlama Llama Farm – Steele). He might even pose for a picture or two!

So, as I asked before, with six days to go until the Fairy Tale Ball, what’s the llama doing?

“Llama llama
red pajama
waiting waiting
for his mama.

Will she take him
to the Ball?
baby llama
starts to bawl.

Llama llama
red pajama
begs oh pretty
please dear mama!

Baby llama,
what a fuss!
I will take you
but you must hush!

Please stop all this
llama drama
and be grateful
for your mama.

Llama llama
red pajama
quietly says thank you
to his mama.”

(Inspired by Llama Llama Red Pajama)

Pinoccio: One Week Before the Ball

We’ve all heard of Pinocchio: the puppet whose wish to be a “real boy” came true.

One week before the Ball, he’s having a great time, running and playing with all the other real boys!

But what about Geppetto, his “father,” the one who made him and controlled his movements as a puppet? What a responsibility–directing another’s life!

Childcare Resources recognizes that leadership in the early care and education field is not easy. In fact, we have a child care consultant whose primary focus is to assist, train and mentor child care directors. From opening a child care business to training staff members, Childcare Resources is here to offer career assistance to Blount, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties (we’ve even had some St. Clair county clients recently too!).

Your ticket to the Fairy Tale Ball will not only allow you to interact with Pinocchio and Geppetto, it also ensures that local child care directors have the tools and resources necessary to offer the highest quality services to their clients.

So, purchase a ticket, “have a ball,” and assist Childcare Resources in making more dreams come true!