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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Three Words: FREE Family FUN!

Now that the rush of back to school has died down, I’m sure you’ve had an opportunity to take a deep breath and unwind a little.

Back to school can bring lots of stress: getting the right school supplies, meeting new teachers, learning new rules and, of course, new expectations.

Childcare Resources believes that all children should have the opportunity to succeed.  We believe that family literacy is a great way to teach a variety of skills to prepare children for school.

That’s why Childcare Resources is proud to again participate in Read and Romp! Birmingham. Join us on Saturday, September 15th at Railroad Park from 9 am – 12 pm. Families with children ages 3 – 5 years will enjoy activities ranging from arts and crafts to physical activities, all which revolve around book themes. At the end of your fun, collect a free bag of books to enjoy at home!

Still not convinced it’s worth your time? Check out some of the fun from last year below!

Childcare Resources volunteers provided face paining to all attendees.Families participate in activities together at tables sponsored by various organizations.

Last year, our book was My First Book of Sign Language. We decorated hands with glitter, crayons, markers and stickers and learned simple signs. This year, our book is Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! Come find out what fun we’ll have to go along with it!

See you next Saturday!

Read and Romp! Birmingham 2012 is sponsored by United Way Success by 6, The Community Foundation of Birmingham, BAM!, Infinity Auto Insurance and Reach Out and Read Alabama.

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!

Your Voice, Their Voice, My Voice: Equal Voice, One Vision For America’s Families

By Samantha Elliott Briggs

Nearly 45 million Americans struggle every day to meet their basic needs.

It’s time for fairness for families.

On May 20th, you are invited to join me and thousands of families and communities across the country to vote on a new national family platform. Make sure your voice and other voices from Alabama are heard by participating in this very important online Convention.

Four years ago I had the opportunity to join thousands of like-minded citizens at a similar event for the Marguerite Casey Foundation’s “Equal Voice for America’s Families” campaign.

That day some 3,700 families, who were bused in from Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Arkansas, gathered locally and connected via simulcast to nearly 15,000 families nationwide. There were also hubs in Los Angeles and Chicago that were set-up similar to ours in Alabama. The mission was to celebrate the voice of families and to ratify the Equal Voice for America’s Families Platform in hopes of gaining better child care, education, more jobs and immigration reform.

Since this experience in 2008, I have remained connected with the work by doing my part as a community volunteer in the education community, as a local educator of future educators and of course, through my board work with Childcare Resources. I keep the passion alive in the hearts and minds of all that I encounter and do my best to help foster and implement change.

I am so excited to learn that The Marguerite Casey Foundation has continued to push the platform and is re-igniting the fire (not that it ever burned out) by hosting the first online Equal Voice national con­ven­tion. The goal is to update the Equal Voice for America’s Fam­i­lies National Fam­ily Plat­form. “Through the use of tech­nol­ogy, tens of thou­sands of fam­i­lies will come together to call for an Equal Voice in the deci­sions that affect their com­mu­ni­ties and their families.”

Birmingham was selected as one of only three sites in the country that will be broadcast nationally while thousands watch at house parties, town halls and other gatherings. There is reserved seating for up to 250 people. Advance registration is required, and participants should plan to arrive by 1:00 for lunch and seating before filming begins at 2:00. The event is being held at B&A Warehouse which is directly across from the lovely Railroad Park.

The gathering is organized by the Alabama Organizing Project (AOP)  . Child care will be available for those who request it when they register. For registration and inquiries, contact Kate Shuster, Coordinator of the Alabama Organizing Project at 334-263-2898, or by email (kate.shuster@gmail.com).

If you are unable to attnd in person, you may still participate in the Convention. Log on to http://www.equalvoice2012.org to watch the Convention and vote on the platform by text message.

What is the cost of raising a child?

Anyone who has a child – a daughter, son, niece, nephew, grandchild or step-child – knows that raising a child places many demands on the adult. Raising a child takes patience, time and – as we all know – MONEY

 The majority of us who have the privilege of caring for a child of any age relish in the joy a child brings to our lives. We unassumingly and lovingly invest in the child by providing for their basic needs like food, clothing and shelter as well as less tangible needs such as spiritual, physical, cognitive, emotional and others. The goal is always to raise a child to be healthy, happy and successful.

Yet there are hundreds of thousands of children who cost much more than others to raise. These are the innocent victims of child abuse and neglect. A recently released report underscores this sad fact. Costs to bring up children who are abused and neglected include hospitalizations, therapy, counseling, criminal justice and special education among others. Consider the story of Curtis Ray, Alabama’s multi-million dollar child.

The most depressing and perhaps cruelest cost though is that of funeral expenses for children who do not survive abuse. Not only have we lost a child, but their subsequent significant contribution to our world went with him/her. Anyone who has enjoyed the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life  knows that one life impacts the lives of many, many others.

Today’s depressed economy and the high incidence of single-parent homes combine with other factors to increase child abuse and neglect in our community. Although the problem occurs at all socio-economic and education levels, studies show that children from lower socio-economic families experience more incidents of abuse and neglect. 

Family finances are indicative of the family’s ability to manage the cost of raising happy, healthy children. When money is scarce, stress levels increase and innocent, helpless, often voiceless children bear the brunt of their parent’s or guardian’s anger, resentment and bitterness.

What can we do to reduce and prevent these horrifying statistics? We know that prevention works. Family support programs are one way. Providing financial assistance to lower the costs of child care tuition helps too.

Alabama is in particular need right now, as funding for the Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention is being severely jeopardized in the 2013 proposed budget. We encourage you to take action now to protect funding for this vital state agency.

What do you want to do to help? What are your concerns? Let us know.