NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A recent study revealed the struggle educators go through to find childcare for themselves. Every year, parents spend thousands of dollars on daycares and nannies. So, to ease the demand, a new center is bringing the daycare to teachers.
The program cites a study done by the Tennesseeans for Quality Early Education, which found 70% of surveyed Nashville parents cited access to childcare as an issue.
“It just doesn’t make sense to be working, but then all of that money pretty much go to childcare, and then with daycares being on such a long waitlist, and then you say to yourself well should we get a nanny, but then those child care options become a lot less reliable, inconsistent, and flakey,” explained Kiara Wilson, a teacher at East Magnet High School.
It’s been a constant struggle for Wilson after she had her first child three years ago. The average cost in Tennessee is nearly $11,000 per year, according to data from the organization Childcare Aware of America. Many families report spending years on a waitlist.
“Not only can we not find a daycare to get into because of these waiting lists, but then once we do, the prices are just thrown the roof, and we would have to pay for every time I have off, so spring break, fall break, summer break,” explained Wilson.
Now, this year, Wilson has found a solution, through Little Wonders Early Learning Center.
“We are here to provide high-quality education to the hard-working teachers of Nashville,” said Zarabeth Davis, the Executive Director of Little Wonders Early Learning Center, located outside of STEM Prep.
The center serves as a new option for teachers. While shortages in the classroom have been a growing issue, many have felt childcare is often an extra hurdle they have to choose between.
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“We are seeing truly a historic learning loss among all children in our public schools, and that requires an urgent response,” said Kristin McGraner, Founder & CEO of STEM Prep Academy. “We have to find new ways to attract people to the profession, to keep people in the profession and to ensure that they can do this work at the highest levels, recovering learning loss, while also being great parents to their children.”
Children now have a place to go that also works around the flexible school hours and vacations while proving quality care at the same time. While the center is geared towards educators, others can also enroll their children.
The goal is to ease the burden for all.
“Teachers have said, if they didn’t have this experience, or this opportunity to join us at little wonders, they may not be in the classroom today, because at the end of the day, their child is the top priority in their life, and if that piece doesn’t fall into place, then they can’t do all the wonderful work for other children,” explained Davis.
The program plans on adding additional locations:
1301 55th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37209 (Opening Early 2023)
2835 Brick Church Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 (Opening Summer 2023)