A Free Hotline for Parents and Childcare Providers
On Monday Studio One decided to close until April 5, 2020. It was a very hard decision to make as childcare plays a big role in the family's daily lives, and in mine. All families at Studio One need childcare to go to work. Everyday that we are closed is a day closer to financial hardships for all involved. Also, the children's everyday schedules have been greatly affected. We really are like family at the studio!
We tried following a protocol that included a health assessment to ensure everyone who was in attendance did not have any symptoms of the coronavirus. This protocol was torture as I knew the minute it would be implemented quite a few would be excluded by default.
The cough. I do know my little ones, and sometimes they cough just by coming from outside. But this cough could be different I suppose? The health assessment was helpful, but it did not stop the mental stress I felt. Like, am I helping by staying open? Or am I contributing to the spread of the virus.
Then Monday evening I went to the grocery store and there wasn't any disinfectant supplies for me to keep the childcare as sanitary as possible. I felt defeated, and of course reading all of the current stats of positive tests, seeing all of the closures, and not knowing how others would practice social distancing sent this childcare provider into a mode of protection to ensure that any child under my watch will not be exposed to the coronavirus. Closing the childcare was a really tough call to make! And I am not really sure if it was the best call to make yet.
Thursday morning I received an email from LARA (Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) with Subject Line reading Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Expanding Capacity for Disaster Relief Child Care Services for Essential Workforce.
After reading the Executive Order I became even more stressed as I saw that the pandemic has now caused licensing regulations to loosen. Now, I am not only concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, but also the health/safety of children in childcare facilities/ homes that are not licensed by State of Michigan.
I also received an email with a survey asking licensed childcare providers what they may need to remain open or to reopen. This gives me hope! It is rather difficult to work through a pandemic when you don't have the supplies you need at the same time. I rather be in the mindset of taking it day by day about being closed then to leave it at April 5, 2020. Although, as I write this more confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan are being announced.
On a positive note the pandemic has allowed us to give our undivided attention to our goal of being/becoming an accredited child care program and the time to focus on our Quality Improvement Plan. We are looking forward sharing some the behind the scenes work we are doing.
In the meantime I have this crazy idea to open a hotline for Parents and Childcare Providers to call us and ask about Developmental Appropriate Learning Activities they would like to do with their children that does not involve the internet, or if you have any questions about providing childcare in your home and would like to be able to pick up the phone and receive free guidance and tips.
We hope many take advantage of this free service. It is something that I wished I had when I was just starting out as a childcare provider, or as a newbie homeschool mom. Besides, we hardly get much adult interaction as it is. LOL. Call us!
All over the internet parents are contemplating homeschooling, or just wanting to offer their children enrichment activities. I would like to share my years of experience as a homeschool mom. I want you to know that counting rocks, is better than sitting in front of a bunch of printables, or too long in front of a screen. I have plenty of hands on learning ideas to offer you and the materials you will need are probably accessible in your home. Just message us on Facebook, or give us a call at (517) 708-0332. Knowing the developmentally appropriate activity will make all the difference in your co-learning journey between your children and you. Avoid any power struggles. Call me! I love helping and sharing ideas to promote developmentally appropriate practices and life skills.
You can read my Professional Philosophy Statement here.
The Executive Order states, "LARA encourages trusted neighbors to help each other in providing care for children. The Child Care Organizations Act allows for people to provide unlicensed care for six or fewer children for a period of up to four consecutive weeks in a calendar year. LARA will allow currently licensed centers to extend their operations to additional buildings after LARA has inspected and approved the new locations to assure the safety of the children in care. LARA will expedite the licensing process for current and new applicants for provisional licenses, including faith-based and other community organizations. LARA will apply flexibility and follow reasonability given the COVID-19 emergency situation."
After reading this in the Executive Order, as an experience licensed childcare provider I feel I have due diligence in offering any support that I can offer to anyone who will providing childcare during this time, especially to those who are unlicensed. I can think of many of things that Licensing did not tell me that I needed to know to operate a successful childcare program. There are safety precautions that must be done and proper forms to fill out, like medical authorization forms. We have for months offered round the clock childcare and understand that many licensed providers may be expanding hours to provide childcare for essential workers. We can also offer you tips and advice and how to expand these service hours as smoothly as possible.
We're in the midst of adding shelves to our learning areas so that our school agers have an assortment of accessible materials to choose from. Call us if your looking for ideas to improve your school age program as well.
You can learn about our Core Values here.
I am truly looking forward to sharing my passion, tips and advice with all of you parents and childcare providers. Please feel free to message any questions you may have via Facebook Messenger if that is better for you. Also, don't forget to subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates.