Staff turn over is not fun or easy, but like most places of employment today, its a fact of life. With unemployment rates dropping, its a buyers market for employees seeking new job opportunity. How many reading this have changed jobs in the last year? 6 months? Why? To seek out more opportunities? , more responsibilities, to be closer to home? money? According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of education and health serivces has experienced 126.7% turnover! Incredible! And that's not just in the field of early childhood, but you can go on any school district website and see dozens of teaching and paraeducator positions open with the close of the current school year. The field of education is low pay for high quality, so teachers from early childhood to adult learning move often for a chance to put those expensive degrees that have to be paid for to work with better compensation and just like a school district will ask the community to accept higher taxes each year to pay for salaries for their staff, early childhood centers will raise their rates to pay for their staff in hope of keeping those highly qualified teachers at their center. But guess what happens when a center raises their rates? Families look else where to send their children, regardless of how wonderful the center they are currently in is or rated. There have been parents who pull their children from a licensed plus center and put them into a center right up the street for a savings of $80.00 a month! What? It's funny though because they don't necessarily look elsewhere when their taxes go up for the public school or when a favorite teacher decides it is time to move on. Yes, a lower unemployment rate doesn't help with employee retention but it's the nature of the industry until somehow the goverment can help centers help their teachers!
The importance of early childhood education can’t be overstated. A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. Early Childhood is considered to be the age of birth through 8 years old, although most brain dvelopment happens between the age of birth and 5 years old.
11/14/17-Information about the new Regulations
8/3/17-Tuition & ECE
It's a new school year and that means a tuition increase too. It's no surprise that the cost of childcare can make most families weep like a toddler! It's expensive! And if you have more than one child in care.....WOW! It can be a tough job to budget for the expense of childcare. Honestly, the cost to run a center is staggering! Centers not only have to obey by labor laws but then there are a whole bunch more regulations that come down from the state. Of course these regulations are in place to ensure the health and well being of our youngest kiddos but they can have a dramatic impact on what a center decides to charge for tuition. An example: Smaller ratio sizes, means the center has to hire more teachers. More teachers means more wages that need to be paid, more payroll taxes, this means a center then needs to adjust their tuition rates to reflect the increase in wages and taxes. A center that is leasing a property can expect an increase in rent yearly, the state requires more training from teachers, centers will need to adjust income flow for those trainings and then there is food, utilities, the unforseen repair/s, comsumable supplies, replacement of broken equipment, etc. For me, raising tuition, this year was a hard decision to make because I knew that I needed to raise it more than I have in the past but with our bottom line expenses, it was necessary. I respected the families that came to me with their concerns, I have tired to work with them to help and for the families that I could not, I'm truly sad to see them have to make the choice to leave. In order to continue to provide care for our families and keep our bottom line in the black, tuition had to be raised by a percent value and not a $ value. We have researched our area and feel as though our new rates are still very competitive. We hope our families understand and they decide to stick with us because they know we love their children like they were our own, but just as I understand that sometimes, for families, the bottom line is what they have to go by, the same runs true for any small business. Every cent that comes in from tuition, goes out from that tuition. There are no extras and very little to save. There are no boards or cooperations to ask for more funding, there are no grants to be had when your a "for profit". We rely solely on tuition and fundraising. We just thought you should know.
You probably heard on the news, this year the ticks are at their worst, due to the mild winter and the rainy spring & beginning of summer we have experienced thus far. Ticks carry many bacteria. This bacteria is passed onto humans and other warm blooded mammals when they attach themselves for a blood meal. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick borne disease in New Hampshire. Ticks usually come out of hiding when the weather starts to warm up. May-August is their most active time.
Timing is crucial when it comes to tick bites. It can take a tick up to hrs to attach and infect a person with Lyme disease. This is why it is so important to make sure when you pick you child up from school, you check them immediately! We check the kiddos when they come in from morning recess, checking arms, legs, back of necks, ears and scalps. We also use a sticky lint roller to go over their clothing. The stinky roller will catch a tick, if it is crawling on them. We spray as often as we can, weather permitting and following state guidelines and manufacturing guidelines. Do the same once your home and then give a bath or shower to rinse off, in case a tick has not attach yet and was missed in the check (ticks can be very small and not always found right away or easily).
If you find a tick attached to you or your child, remove it manually with tweezers, grasping the mouthparts, close to the skin and pulling straight up. Clean the area with antiseptic/rubbing alcohol and circle the area that the tick was attached and monitor for a few days to make sure it doesn't become infected or present with a rash. Make note of then the tick attached in case you need to seek medical treatment.
Testing a tick for disease in not recommended since tests may not be accurate, they take too long for results to come back to make medical decisions and a positive tick does not always mean Lyme was transmitted. Rather, monitor yourself or your child for illness. Symptoms can include: Body aches, fever, headaches, fatigue, joint pain and stiffness and a rash. Note that the Lyme disease rash will look like a bullseye and the Rocky Mountain spotted fever rash will look like a small red rash that develops on the palms of the hands and/or the soles of the feet. If you feel as though you have these symptoms and were bitten by a tick, seek out medical care. Let you doctor know, when you were bitten, where you were bitten and how long you have not been feeling well. Remeber it can take up to 30 days before syptoms appear.
The best way to keep from getting bitten by ticks is to stay out of wooded & high grassy areas. Wear light colored clothing to make looking for ticks easier and spray tick repellent with at least 20% deet. Washing and drying clothes will help kill ticks if they are on them and were not noticed. Ticks like to attach in areas where the skin is thin, so behind ears, scalps, necks, armpits, behind knees, around the hair line and the groin areas should be check thoughly. For more information on ticks, check out the website tickfreenh.org.
4/4/17-Rash on, Rash off!
There are many different rashes that cause concern. Some are contagious and others are not. Some are bothersome to us and others just look bad. As a childcare, we have to be very cautious about rashes. Rashes can spread and make a child uncomfortable. Some rashes can be contagious and so we have to make sure we are doing our doing our due diligence in protecting the other children in our care, as well as our staff. If your child comes in with a rash and it is bothering them we will ask you to take them to the doctor's office to have it checked out. Perhaps it is dry skin, or a small allergy, but without that note from a doctor, we can not just take the word of a parent. This is also stated in the state regulations. A doctor note needs to be given to the childcare if there is any queston or concern about an illness or rash. We understand that visits to the doctor or urgent care are time consuming and sometimes costly, but wouldn't we all rather era on the side of caution? If it was another child, wouldn't you want us to have the same precaution and due diligence? I am sure the answer would be yes, when if comes to healthy and safety or our children. If a rash is found to be non contagious and just requires some over the counter cream, you will also need to obtain a doctor's note for that so that we can apply the cream here if need be. Please understand, even a non contagious rash will require us to cover it with bandages, if your child is picking or scratching at it constantly. Again this is for the health and safety of the other children and staff. We have had children scratch and pick until the rash became raw and bleed. As childcare personnel, we have a lot to be be conscious of when it comes to state regualtions, curriculum planning and safety. We appreciate the support.
2/7/17-Being Sick is no fun!
The cold weather is here and with it usually brings more colds, fevers and stomach bugs. :( Of course noone wants to be sick. When we are sick, we feel lousy, not our selves and many times, we just want to curl up under a warm blanket and call it a day. If only we could do that everytime we did not feel good. Unfortunately, many parents cannot take time off to nurse every little cold that their children might get. We understand that because many of us are parents ourselves and we can't call in for every little issue either, because we have a commitment to you and our children. There are certain guidelines that we must follow per state regulations. State regulations are minimum for centers to follow but centers are able to go above and beyond the state regulations. Obviously, if your child has a contagious illness, they must stay at home for at least 24 hours, until they have been on medicine for 24 hours and are no longer contagious. But what about the common cold and illness? We ask that parents use common sense in these matters. If your child is eating, playing & sleeping fine then they should be fine for school. But if your child is feverish, exteremly tired or very emotional or irritable, then they probably will not be able to concentrate at school, setting them up for a long day. Please be advised that if your child cannot keep their eyes open, or just wants to lay down, is exteremly emotional or breaking down in tears easily, is feverish or is coughing uncontrolably, they will need to be picked up from school. 1 bout of vomit (regardless of how much or little) or 2 or more bouts of runny/loose stool will also warrant a call for pick up. A sick child needs to be picked up within the hour of the phone call. The exception to this might be if it is nap time. In this case we will put your child down for a nap and they will need to be picked up right after nap, regardless of the time they are usually picked up. An example, if they wake up from nap @ 230 and you usually pick up about 4pm. We cannot have them wait till 4 pm for pick up. Finally, many parents in the past have stated they did not want their child outside when it was cold because they are just getting over being "sick". Please understand that we are required by state regulatiions to have them go outside everyday and we are also require by state regulations to meet teacher/child ratios. This means we do not have extra staff that can stay inside with children, nor can children have the option to not go outside becasue they have a cold. Your best option in this case is to keep your child home until you feel as though they are ready to take on the whole day at school, including going outside. The good news with all of this is childcare will build up a great immune system and by the time they reach the public school, they hardly will be sick! :)
8/8/16- Hand Foot and Mouth-Sounds worst than it really is.
Happy Monday and an outbreak of Hand, Foot & Mouth. :( Noone likes when their child is sick but so it goes when they are in childcare. Anything & everything is up for grabs, that includes every germ in the place (insert a loud sigh here). We are not spared in the winter and neither are we in the summer. Right now we are dealing with Hand Foot & Mouth (HFM) so let's learn some facts about it and save the worry for something really important like.....who the next president will be! :)
HFM is a virus. The Coxsackie virus to be exact. Usually, children will have the virus a few days before the outbreak of a rash. This is when the virus is most contagious. The rash is usually found around the mouth, hands & feet (hence the name) but it can spread to the thighs, diaper area and arms. The virus can last up to 7 days and the rash up to 10. This little germ tends to be common in children under 10, amoung groups of children in childcare settings in in the summer and fall.
It's spread by direct contact with nose & throat secreations, so a child in the center with a running nose or coughing may be the onset starter. Children who are carrying the virus, may or maynot present with illness syptoms other than a commom cold, some might have a slight fever but still nothing that points out HFM, until those blisters or rash come out.
There is no tratment for HFM & it does not require a child to be out of a childcare setting. To help with the spread, children are encouraged to keep hands, feet and objects out of their mouths (easier said than done with infants and toddlers), frequent hand washing, cleaning of toys and objects, covering coughs & sneezes (again, not going to hapen in an infant or toddler room) and avoid sharing cups, straws and utensils. Like the common cold, hand washing, hand washing, hand washing and covering your cough and sneezes are the best way to prevent it. Managing it gets a bit harder with out putting every object in a bubble for 7-10 days, including any child with syptoms of a common cold. Since we can't do that, the next best thing is just to learn about it and know that with most viral infections, it will pass. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest, drinks plenty of fluiids, use tylenol if there is a fever and ride out the HFM storm, just one of many viruses a child will have before they hit the public school. :) That's blog post for another time.
Now that summer is here, water play is part of our outside play time in the morning. Many parents ask why we do water play (for some, it's an inconvenience to have to bring extra clothes to school and have a pile of wet ones at home to wash). Believe me, for the teachers, it isnt much of a picnic either, having to change 8-10 kids our of wet clothes and into dry ones, but as early childhood educators, we know the value that water play brings to the learning experiences of young children and now you can too! :)
Water play builds math and science skills as well as fine motor and social skills. Sensory play allows the senses to take in, experience, intergrate and regulate responses to the environment. Not only is water play fun, but while standing at the water table, a child is using their fingers, hands, arms and trunk while maintaining balance and coordination of their body. Children are also developing their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills for future reading and writing skills.
Cognitively, children are learning about investigation, observation, problem solving, cause and effect, curiosity and imagination, volume, measurement and property, and reasoning and logical thinking skills.
Finally, let's not forget about peer interaction, friendship building, sharing, helping and compromising. These are very important life skills to have as children navigate throught their school years and working years.
So now you know! :)