Working parents with young children need accurate information on how to find affordable, high-quality child care and how to pay for it. This section of the ECE Toolkit offers answers, guidance, and links to resources that can provide additional assistance.
As an employer, there are many steps you can take to be more responsive to the challenges faced by employees with young children. This section of the ECE Toolkit brings together information, resources, and best practices that can help you create an ECE-friendly workplace – including many no-cost and low-cost ideas.
Being an employer who cares about ECE can help you attract and retain employees, as well as reduce the day-to-day costs associated with child care challenges. Making ECE a priority – in your workplace and your community – is also a powerful way to invest in the workforce of tomorrow.
Early Care and Education is an issue that needs leaders like you.
In addition to making ECE a priority in your workplace, there are many more ways to champion ECE in your community.
Your voice is important because you know from firsthand experience the many ways our ECE system has a direct impact on today’s employers and employees.
ECE also matters because today’s infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are tomorrow’s workers, taxpayers, and parents.
From advocating for systemic change that will ultimately benefit you and your employees, to providing support to local programs and child care professionals, you can play a role in shaping the future of ECE - and the future of tens of thousands of children.
Did you know?There are 67,000 children under age 5 in Montgomery County.
Here are some ways to get involved and make a difference.
Be an Advocate
Use your voice and networks to advocate for public and private investment in a cohesive ECE system at the local, state and federal level.
Maryland Family Network (MFN) works directly with thousands of families and children across the state, provides training to child care workers, and advocates for the needs of young children and their families in Annapolis and Washington, D.C., making sure they are a priority with lawmakers. MFN's website includes a detailed Advocacy Guide for child care advocates, along with a list of National Advocacy Resources.
Boardmatch Montgomery could help you connect with an opportunity to serve on the board of an ECE nonprofit where your skills and passions are a good fit.
Leadership Montgomery has several programs that could help you achieve greater impact as a community leader working on ECE issues.
Get Involved with Local ECE Programs
Many child care programs are 501(c)(3) nonprofits that can benefit from volunteer support, donated services, and charitable dollars.
Volunteer: Give of your time and talent. Also encourage your employees to volunteer at ECE programs, or organize a corporate volunteer day at a nonprofit. Volunteering is also a great way to gain insight into the challenges faced by ECE providers and working parents.
Provide pro bono services: Use your professional expertise to support a local ECE program with donated services such as accounting, business planning, marketing, information technology, or legal advice. The value of such donated services may be tax deductible.
Fundraise: Tap into your networks to help raise funds for an ECE program or initiative. You might host a fundraiser at your home or business, promote giving through your social networks, or volunteer to help solicit major gifts.
Donate: Include ECE programs in your personal or corporate giving. If you run a retail store or restaurant, holding a special promotion where you donate a percentage of proceeds to an ECE nonprofit can be a great way to raise funds while also raising public awareness.
Sponsor Training for ECE Professionals
Like all educational professionals, early childhood teachers need to have opportunities to learn and grow, keep up with best practices, and pursue specializations. Many teachers and administrators would also benefit from attending state and national conferences, which can provide valuable opportunities for professional development.
To help provide access to training and education, you could partner with a local ECE program - perhaps choosing a child care provider that is attended by some of your employees' children - to pay for staff training, offer scholarships, or sponsor conference attendance.
Or you might partner with a training provider to offer scholarships or provide subsidies to reduce the enrollment fees for selected classes.
Child care trainers approved by the Maryland State Department of Education and serving Montgomery County include:
The early years from age zero to five lay the foundation for a child's future success in school and in life, so it is imperative that child care workers have the tools and knowledge required to do this very important job.
However, child care workers often struggle to pay for additional training and education because they simply don't earn enough to invest in professional development. According to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley, in 2017 the median hourly wage for child care workers in Maryland was $11.29. For a full-time worker, that's an annual wage of $23,483.
Even teachers with more education, experience, and responsibility earn low wages. In 2017, the median hourly wage for preschool teachers in Maryland was $14.16, and the median hourly wage for preschool or child care center directors was $22.25. By comparison, kindergarten teachers earned a median hourly wage of $35.45.
Low wages make it challenging to pay for training and education. There are some state reimbursement programs and tax credits available for child care professionals, but training costs can still be burden or a barrier, especially for those who wish to pursue training and education beyond basic state requirements in order to advance their careers.
EAP Helps Parents Find Affordable, Reliable, High-Quality Child Care
LifeWork Strategies, a department of Adventist HealthCare located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, supports parents in finding Early Care and Education options as part of its comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP).