Private K12 schools that enroll children ages 0-6 have strong early learning programs aligned with their schools. These EL programs benefit from robust administrative teams, the stability of the school, and the professional education opportunities that come with working with a larger group of teachers. Early learning programs connected to private schools are stable and professional.
WFIS is part of the advocacy effort to sustain the breadth of diversity in the childcare industry. However, if the State’s oversight continues to be burdensome, detracts from children being the priority, and does not provide improvement, then our efforts will focus on honoring the missions of our schools, the well-being of children and families, and the freedom to separate our programs from State licensure.
Early Learning program directors meet weekly with WFIS to discuss best practices, legislation, licensing information, and stories from the field. After years of listening to provider experiences, it’s clear that many policymakers have difficulty putting themselves in the shoes of early learning teachers and directors. Program Directors are concerned that the over-regulation, ongoing complexities with the licensing department, and push for public schools to replace longstanding, dependable early learning programs will backfire on social justice and inclusivity goals.
The early learning educational landscape is currently diverse in its programming, responsive to its communities, and reflective of parent needs. Unfortunately, due in part to many pandemic closures, there are too few programs, they are too expensive, and the teachers and directors are paid too little to attract enough people. Add to this the looming concerns that, in the end, the public school system will replace the variety of small neighborhood programs with industrialized childcare prescribed by basic education. This will leave parents with limited choices and lower-income parents with even fewer.