A new study has revealed that almost 90% of American families with children have one working parent. While 69% of working parents said that they have more time to interact with their kids due to flexible work schedules, there is still a need for reliable childcare facilities. Childcare or daycare centers provide a safe place where parents can entrust their young children at work, making them an indispensable part of a community.
An efficient daycare center with a compassionate and capable staff is undoubtedly a boon to any city or town. Not only do they offer much-needed support to parents, but they also bring a community together in so many ways. Here is why local daycares provide a strong foundation for community engagement.
They Can Influence a Town’s Values
A place that cares, educates, and nurtures multiple children can influence an entire town’s values. The values and lessons learned at daycare can stay with these children until they grow, and their words and actions will reflect everything they learned during their formative years. Once they become adults, they can make decisions that could influence the whole community. As a result, this is why hiring trained staff who specialize in early childcare is a must. At the same time, community members should make it a point to have regular conversations with daycare management to ensure teaching positive values.
Instead of ideologies, though, some of the things kids should learn from a daycare include respecting others, not hurting anyone, having a sense of responsibility, knowing when and how to apologize, and learning how to adjust and compromise, among others. Regardless of religious beliefs or cultural differences, learning these things at a young age can help children grow up to be kind adults who will always have consideration for others and try to make intelligent choices in life.
Encourages a Sense of Belonging
Being the new family in a town or a city can be nerve-wracking for parents. Not only do they have to adjust to having a new routine, but they also need to make an effort to form connections and friendships with people who have known each other for most of their lives. A daycare center can be the key to developing new friendships, as sharing parenting experiences and amusing anecdotes about their kids can help parents bond. This relationship creates a sense of belonging for the newcomers, preventing them from feeling like outsiders in the community.
Daycare centers can encourage these conversations by providing a waiting area where parents can sit and talk with other grown-ups. Having monthly coffee catch-ups can also help parents to form friendships. At the same time, the childcare facility can use this to update parents about their upcoming schedules and activities.
Promotes Collaboration and Involvement
Some daycare centers hold activities or events regularly to bring the community together. Not only do these provide a fun way to spend time with neighbors and friends, but they also promote collaboration and involvement from everyone. It also makes education more fun. Some events that childcare facilities should consider include a cooking class, a bake sale, a community garage sale, a sports fest, an arts and crafts fair, parent-child yoga or dance classes, outdoor concerts or movie nights, and a clean-up drive.
Parents and daycare staff can work together to plan, organize, and execute these events. Parents can also pool resources to contribute to these events. For instance, families who own a catering business, a bakery, a restaurant, or any business that has something to do with food can provide healthy snacks and drinks. Meanwhile, parents who work in events can provide tents, tables and chairs, sound systems, and AV systems. Prioritize marketing to spread the word through word-of-mouth advertising, flyers, posters, or posts on social media platforms.
Creates Opportunities to Share Knowledge
Daycare centers can create opportunities to share knowledge that would benefit the community. Holding seminars, talks, or workshops for children and parents at the childcare center can enrich lives meaningfully. For example, a parent who works in healthcare can give an educational talk about good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of sickness-causing germs. Meanwhile, another parent who is an expert in gardening can share tips on how to grow vegetables and fruits in containers or in the backyard quickly. A parent who teaches martial arts can give a workshop on basic self-defense techniques, while one who knows visual art can teach basic painting lessons. It is all about sharing what one knows for the benefit of all.
How Should Daycares Encourage Community Engagement?
There are several things that daycare centers can do to encourage community engagement within their area. One of them is having a regular open house so that new parents can see and observe how the staff takes care of the children and what the facility does to educate young minds. Having an open house every quarter allows parents to ask questions and get to know the teachers. In turn, it offers daycares the chance to show parents that they practice transparency, and they can show how they work as a team to enhance the children’s overall development.
Inviting parents to participate in classes can encourage them to be more involved. Daycare centers can have career days wherein invited parents can talk about their jobs and hold demonstrations if applicable to the day’s lessons. Parents can also read stories, serve snacks, or lead exercise or dance time.
Offering parenting classes is also an excellent way to support adults who want to brush up on their parenting skills after work. Daycare facilities can offer courses on toilet training toddlers, limiting screen time, healthy eating, family fitness, or teaching kids to manage their time and money. These classes allow daycare teachers and staff to share their knowledge and expertise on these topics, which can help parents ensure that their kids are cared for by competent people.
Daycares provide opportunities for community engagement. Parents and daycare centers can work and learn together to create a nurturing and excellent environment for children that will benefit them as they grow.
Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.