When I started working with toddlers, I had three pairs of formal black pants. Then two of my pairs of pants became so worn at the knees that they split open during the workday, leaving my kneecaps exposed.
I spent those days apologizing to parents and teachers for my uncharacteristically casual ripped pants. The reason for this is fairly simple – spending time with toddlers means spending time on the floor. There are no tricks with this age group – television, apps, and flashcards are largely ineffective when it comes to teaching them how to speak.
Language skills help kids succeed
Babies and toddlers learn best from face-to-face interactions with caring adults. Parent education and quality center-based care help kids learn language, and language skills help kids succeed in school later on. Language skills even predict how kids will do in seemingly unrelated subjects like math.
Every single parent I have worked with has wanted the best for their children. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical, but our support for DC families in those 1,000 days is fractured, and it’s failing Black and Brown families in particular. Programs like home visiting help ensure every infant and toddler in DC, regardless of their family’s income, can get the high-quality wrap-around support and care they need to thrive. And they ensure that parents feel supported and confident in their ability to give their children a strong start in life.
Capping child care costs through a subsidy is the best way
Capping the cost of child care at 10% of a family’s income through OSSE’s subsidy program, as the Birth-to-Three Act does, is the best way to increase affordability while improving quality for all kids. Tax credit plans help the families with the highest incomes. If my husband and I have a child, we won’t be able to afford the $23,000 per year price tag for DC child care, and knocking that price down to $22,000 won’t change that calculation for our family.
Jane Hayashi-Kim is a Ward 5 resident.