Child Care and Early Learning During COVID-19
posted by: Amber Johnson
For the past year, Mile High Mamas has been a strong advocate for affordable child care for all Colorado residents. Now, in the days of COVID-19, an already difficult challenge has grown even more complicated. How can I ensure my child is engaged while at home? What are my options for child care when I go back to work?
Learning at Home
While some child care centers and schools are closed, parents can use the online resources at EarlyLearningCO.org to support learning at home. The online resources available from the State of Colorado include:
- Tips to play and support learning at every age
- Short, fun videos about child development and the parent experience
- Links to other high-quality, free parenting resources
Our biggest advice? Life is overwhelming right now, but engaging in play and age-appropriate learning activities with our kids while they are at home doesn’t have to be. These early years are so important in your child’s development so defer to the experts to help guide you during these difficult times!
Child Care Programs
So, what child care options are available when I go back to work?
We all want our kids to shine and moms with young kids have been given the ultimate resource: Colorado Shines, a program from the State of Colorado which rates and monitors the quality of child care programs. This includes ensuring environments are safe for children and that programs adhere to all current health and safety regulations.
The great thing about the Colorado Shines is all of the information you need is in one place, allowing you to dig into the details of a child care program’s quality and history to ensure you choose the best program for your child. The search tool for parents and primary caregivers of children age 0-5 is also geared to Spanish-dominant and bilingual families. It’s all about making informed choices!
Quality child care may look different depending on the setting. Whether you decide on licensed child care or care from a family member, friend or neighbor, it’s vital to make sure that your child is in a nurturing, safe space with caring adults while you are away.
Colorado Shines is not only your go-to resource for all matters related to early care and learning in Colorado, but it also unlocks the keys to children’s development, connects you to other programs and services and teaches you about early childhood milestones.
If you’re not sure where to start, this checklist from Colorado Shines is a great resource to walk you through the steps to finding quality care. Be sure to also check out the following:
- Find the Right Child Care Program – Tips, Checklist, Key Questions to Ask
- Getting Started – Tips to Support Families to Find Quality Licensed Child Care
- Preparing for Your Baby’s First Day in Child Care
- Adult-to-Child Ratio Requirements for Licensed Child Care Programs
- Prenatal Preparation – Finding Quality Licensed Child Care for Infants
The State of Colorado also provides parent-friendly tools, videos and resources about child development on the Colorado Early Learning & Development Guidelines website at EarlyLearningCO.org.
The early years matter. Research shows high-quality child care and preschool programs prepare children for kindergarten and success in school. Colorado Shines is here to help us start that lifetime journey and there is no better time than now.
Visit ColoradoShines.com search to begin searching for a program, call 1.877.338.CARE (2273) or text ‘child care referral’ to 898-211 to speak to a child care referral specialist.
In partnership with Mile High Mamas.