Why Do Facilities Matter?
Early care and education facilities are often overlooked by public policy and left out of budgets and funding proposals. Yet, an absence of investment in the physical space hurts quality, impacts child health and safety, and holds back quality expansion potential. Facilities play a key role in shaping the availability and quality of services. Here are four reasons we need to address this critical ingredient:
- Supply – We must increase the physical capacity of the quality early care and education providers. Space is expensive and few centers have the experience or personnel to handle the complexities of real estate development tasks. This can result in programs expanding into readily available space, such as church basements or elementary schools with declining enrollments- facilities that usually fall far short of standards needed to support high quality programs.
- Child Development and Program Quality – Layout, size, materials, and design features can improve program quality and contribute positively to child development. For example, in centers where teachers must leave the room frequently to accompany a child to the bathroom or get materials or supplies from storage, the teacher-to-child ratio drops- one of the most important indicators of quality. A carefully designed classroom will include appropriate plumbing and storage right within the space.
- Workplace Environment – Better quality facilities can help foster staff retention by using teachers’ time more efficiently, creating physically and psychologically comfortable workplaces, and facilitating professionally rewarding interactions with children, parents, and co-workers
- Parent Engagement & Support – Facility design and location affect parents’ ability to enroll their children and can impact a parent’s level of engagement in the program.
Read our two-pager, “ Why Early Childhood Facilities Matter: The Case for Public Action ” for more information.
In This Issue
- March is Childhood Poisoning Prevention Month
- LAST CALL! 2018 Facility Assessment Survey and Certified Playground Safety Inspector Course
- Child Care Roundtable Discussion
- United Way Capacity Building Seminars