“Despite the low pay, teachers who are in charge of classrooms still have to meet certain state education requirements. Nonetheless, child care is sometimes thought of as just baby sitting. But it’s much more than that, said Clare Higgins, executive director of Community Action Pioneer Valley, which runs Head Start and early learning programs.
“ ‘Children develop in a web of relationships, both the people that are in their family and the people who care for them right outside the family,’ Higgins said.
“Children learn and thrive when they feel safe with those adults and trust them to be there, she said.
“ ‘Because the pay is so low, grown ups are leaving and kids [are] having attachments broken over and over again,’ Higgins said. ‘And, quite frankly, so are those adults. You know, people are so sad when they have to leave the program, but they can’t afford to stay.’
* * *
“Rebekah Dutkiewicz was a preschool teacher for about 10 years. She loved it.
“ ‘It was just something that felt very natural, professionally and very fulfilling professionally,’ Dutkiewicz said.
“But after about a decade, in May last year, she left. She had worked at a private preschool, Fort Hill in Northampton, where she earned a salary with benefits. But with no summers off and working 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, she struggled being available to her own three children.
“ ‘Ultimately, it became really important for me to commit to a job that allowed me to have a bit more balance in my life and more money. I mean, to be frank, just more money,’ Dutkiewicz said.
“Last fall, she got a new job as a public school kindergarten teacher, with summers off — earning $10,000 more.”
— “Hiring crisis in child care: ‘We’re stuck in a market that’s broken’ ” by Nancy Eve Cohen, New England Public Media, October 19, 2021