Miss Gail helps a dozen 4-year-olds learn to navigate their worlds. They go from outdoor play to learning to make orange juice with a juice press (“That’s a lever!”), then gather in a circle to read “The Peace Rose,” a story about taking turns talking, respecting each other and resolving conflict.
Gail, who has a master’s degree in early childhood,makes the flow of events seem effortless.
“Having things look effortless takes mad skills and years of experience,” says Lakes Region Child Care Services Executive Director Marti Ilg. “And we can’t pay her enough.”
From four locations in three communities, Lakes Region Child Care serves 424 infants and children from 28 towns. Some are the children of doctors. Some have parents in jail. Almost half receive some form of scholarship. Here, children learn together in a stable, safe, nurturing place.
Nonprofit child care centers across the state support New Hampshire’s workforce and economy while providing critical early learning experiences to preschoolers. Centers operate on tight budgets, sliding tuition scales and low wages, but the cost of quality care remains difficult for many families to afford.
Learning in the early years lays the foundation for all learning that follows. An average $7 is saved in societal costs for every $1 invested in early childhood.
Teachers like Miss Gail help children thrive, and thriving children grow into the adults who will sustain our communities tomorrow.
And yet, the median hourly wage for early childhood workers in the United States is $10.72. That is slightly less than the median wage for parking lot attendants.