The importance of child care providers to families, to communities and to Arizona’s economy came into clearer view over the past year.
The pandemic caused the abrupt shutdown of many child care and home-based centers. For example, more than half of the nearly 1,000 child care providers who participate in First Things First’s Quality First program had closed by mid-March.
Now, despite drastically reduced enrollment and expensive increased health and safety measures, many centers are determined to serve families who need safe, trusted child care in order to continue working.
While it was challenging for everyone, the resilience and dedication of early educators renewed our deep appreciation for those who provide child care and the essential role it plays. Especially in uncertain times, early care and education providers offer families critical support when they need it most.
Throughout the month of May, First Things First invites Arizonans to show their gratitude for the state’s early care and education providers through the #ShareTheCareAZ campaign. Visit the Share the Care AZ page for simple ways to show support.
Child care workers, preschool teachers and friend and family caregivers help our youngest children learn, grow and succeed. The nurturing relationships they build with our children are critical to the healthy development of babies, toddlers and preschoolers. More Arizonans are now realizing that the child care workforce is an essential family support and an engine of our economy. This past year has made clear that a lack of quality child care impacts workforce participation and job stability.
We ask that you share the #ShareTheCareAZ video on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag your favorite provider or center with a personal note — just be sure to use #ShareTheCareAZ and tag First Things First when posting. You can also copy this video link: youtu.be/v7scZvSetko.
Also, make sure to follow First Things First on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter because we’ll be posting and sharing gratitude for caregivers throughout May. The goal is for every caregiver in Arizona to feel the appreciation, because by caring for our children, they’ve been caring for us all.