The second Sunday in May has long been recognized as the day to honor mothers and their commitment to children. But, did you know the Friday before Mother’s Day, May 10, 2013, is Provider Appreciation Day? This special day celebrates and recognizes child care providers, teachers, school-age program staff, child care center directors and staff, and all those who work with children and are responsible for their education and care.
The day also reminds our communities of the importance of quality child care. Learning doesn’t start at kindergarten, it begins at birth. Ninety percent of brain development occurs during the first five years of life. That is why providing quality early care for our children helps ensure their future success.
It is estimated that nearly 11 million children under age 5 are cared for by 2.8 million child care providers in the United States. In Alaska, that translates to 25,000 children in state licensed programs.
On May 10th, thread joins Alaska’s working parents in recognizing and thanking early childhood professionals across Alaska for their hard work and dedication to children.
“It takes a special person to work in the child care field, and these individuals are often unrecognized,” says Stephanie Berglund, Executive Director of thread. “This day offers a special opportunity for parents to show their early childhood professionals their appreciation.”
Parents can find tips on how to thank their providers at the National Provider Appreciation Day website. Ideas include sending flowers and notes of appreciation, preparing healthy food and snacks, giving a gift or making an equipment donation to the child care center, and offering a spa day to your provider.
Provider Appreciation Day was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey who saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Momentum and support for this event has grown each year, and recognition presently includes individuals and government organizations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
For more information about families and child care in Alaska, visit thread. thread is a statewide network of professionals who work individually with families and early educators to ensure that they are knowledgeable and supported in caring for children.