As a provider of resources and support to ECEs across America, the team at HiMama has encountered a major theme among concerns voiced by those who work with children. Simply put, the biggest issue that faces early childhood educators is this:
There is a misalignment between expectations on early childhood educators and the resources provided to meet these expectations.
What does this mean? The investment in child care across the U.S. is just not enough to support early childhood educators in their role. As a result, they are vastly underpaid and under-appreciated, while still being expected to make a major impact on the development of young children. Though their role in society is critical, there are simply not enough resources dedicated towards the child care sector and providing educators with what they need to improve the quality of child care they can provide.
What Happens When Educators Have Few Resources?
With inadequate funding for child care facilities across America, the quality of care can vary wildly from one preschool to the next. Without proper resources, some care centers may not be able to take advantage of the latest in technology, provide enrichment experiences for children, or even hire more staff to allow for more spots in their daycare and provide more one on one attention to each child. Being strapped for resources means educators must make due with crowded spaces, a lack of outdoor play areas, aging equipment, outdated technology and inefficient processes, all of which can have an impact on the quality of care that can be delivered.
What Happens When Educators Are Underpaid?
One of the major early childhood education problems that stems from a lack of funding and resources is the fact that US educators are underpaid. When teachers are underpaid and feel unvalued, staff turnover can be high. With low pay, ECEs may feel unmotivated or feel that their work is unrewarding. This can encourage them to leave their current position, or even transition to another career path entirely. This turnover is not only damaging to the child care industry as a whole; it is especially damaging to the children who repeatedly see educators whom they trust and feel comfortable with leave their preschool time and time again.
Without appropriate compensation and resources, more and more talented early childhood educators will be lost to other professions that offer higher paying opportunities as well as the resources they need to perform their job duties. Finding an exceptional early childhood educator with the passion and skills to teach young children is rare, so losing these individuals to other jobs will cause outcomes for America’s children to suffer overall.
For more on the challenges faced by preschool teachers, take a look at some of our past blogs below:
What are your thoughts on the state of early childhood education in the US? Join the conversation at @HiMamaSocial and make sure to sign up for updates from our HiMama Blog for updates on similar content in the future!
For more insights into the state of the child care sector, see HiMama’s Benchmark Report!