This week, Oregon joins states around the country in recognizing the important work of child care providers, with Provider Appreciation Day on May 12th. We know that 95% of a child’s brain growth occurs before the age of five, and 65% of all children under the age of six have both parents in the workforce. With dedication and professional skills, child care providers create spaces that support children to learn and thrive while also making it possible for families to be successful in the workforce. Simply put, child care providers are the workers that make all work possible.
But Oregon is in the midst of a child care crisis. With a limited availability of affordable child care across the state before the pandemic, we know that over 7% of the early learning and child care workforce has left the industry, further impacting families and preventing parents from returning to the workforce. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we recognize the important role that child care providers play in Oregon’s economy and children’s development. The creation of the Department of Early Learning and Care is a positive step forward in unifying and strengthening high-quality early learning and care for Oregon families and children.
Child care providers don’t just make it possible for families to work. The earliest years of a child’s life are critical – they lay the foundation for the brain and body architecture that will support a child’s ability to learn, and for lifelong social, emotional, and physical health. This Provider Appreciation Day, let’s show our gratitude for those who support the social, emotional, and physical care of our youngest children.