We recognize that so much happens in a child’s life and development in the precious first few years. Childcare is such a vital part of many children’s lives since their parents are required to work and need quality childcare. Particularly with the impact of COVID-19, many of our early childhood education programs have been compromised or have closed due to a host of issues that have made it difficult to maintain their programs financially.
When we consider their plight we know they now need a new start and some vital help and strengthening as they pick up the pieces and renew their commitment to children as they provide quality care for them. They also need a way to recruit, pay, and train staff since many have left the field.
As in any of our schools, the children who are placed in these centers have had significant consequences in their lives and families due to COVID-19. This means early childhood staff needs specific knowledge, training, and skills for how to deal with and regulate these children. It stretches far beyond child development knowledge and it is somewhat specialized because of the age of these children. They do not have the maturity to cope with their stressors and need a unique environment so they can thrive in an ECE center.
Since this is such a significant part of the lives of so many children, Lakeside is beginning to develop ideas and plans for our own early childhood trauma certification program. We are actively brainstorming with our early childhood community as to what their needs are and how we can standardize a training so we can work with ECE staff to help them manage the children in their care with a trauma lens and an emotionally healthy tool-belt.
We are working on this exciting design now and working towards raising funds for the development of this training to support our early childhood educators. We will provide training for staff, coaching, parent engagement and support, and programmatic guidance as to how to create the most effective environment for childcare in a post-COVID world. There are so many challenges to meet, but we feel this is an essential area of emphasis that will have lasting impact in the lives of parents and children who require quality childcare.
We are hopeful we can restore what has been lost to build towards a stronger, trauma-sensitive, and more dynamic early childhood movement to support our children as they prepare for their next phase of life in school and in their families.
Stay tuned as we consider how to best meet these needs in our community.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO