• Diane Wilkinson

Child Care FAQ

It's June 1st... the phrase "time flies when you're having fun" comes to mind. It's been revitalizing to have children running in the backyard, hearing them sing songs from all the way down the hallway, and getting so many nice comments from parents. I will follow up with a post about our Preschool Graduation Parade, but this one is specifically about our child care side of operations.

As most of you know, the Nestucca Valley School District took over our building, staff and operations starting on July 1, 2020. In the midst of the pandemic, we were so grateful to have paychecks, health insurance, and the support and collaboration of all of the staff at the NVSD.

Now that we are peeking our heads out, we are reconsidering opening a child care option. I know that many of you have memories of Cedar Creek Child Care, with flexible hours, the same staff working in the classroom that clean the bathrooms and cooks the meals. The good news is we can say we have come a long way. Your NVELC team is considered highly qualified early learning educators, and the programs we offer are as well. The not-so-good news is that it comes at a cost. That team is finally receiving the pay they deserve, and improvements have been made to ensure high quality in all of our classrooms.

Many are unfamiliar with the requirements a licensed child care center has, so I thought I'd share. I had two responses to the child care needs survey. In order to staff a program with before and after care hours, we would need to add (at least) two qualified staff and a cook. On many occasions, we only had one or two students in the before and after hours (between 7-8:30 and 3:00-5:00). The overhead costs of running a large certified center do not match up with the need for this type of care in our community. I am collecting names and schedule needs from those that are inquiring, so that we have a realistic wait-list. If someone works in Tillamook, I have a great relationship with the TELC staff, and have been working with them on enrolling our students.

The ideal situation would be in-home child care provider options for families to have more flexibility and reasonable rates, however, we don't have many licensed and certified options in South County.

I will spend time this summer on looking at ways we can consider re-opening in a sustainable way. Some ideas are: employer subsidies; specific drop-off and pick-up times for consistent staff schedules and budget projecting; parents sending in meals and/or volunteering in different ways to keep costs down. If you have any ideas, suggestions or questions, please contact me!

Thank you,

Diane Wilkinson

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