Family child care week

Provider Appreciation Day is a special day to recognize child care providers, teachers and educators of young children everywhere. Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The week leading up to this special day has been named Family Child Care Week and Provider Appreciation Week.

The founding organizers saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Since then, momentum and support for this event has grown each year and recognition presently includes individuals and government organizations throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Recognition takes many forms including state and municipal government proclamations, local media coverage, business and community events, and private acknowledgement from parents.

Today’s child care providers are the world’s unsung heroes. The child care profession is one of the most underpaid occupations in the country, yet early childhood is the most critical developmental period for all children.

It takes a dedicated person to be successful in the demanding world of today’s child care professional. Provider Appreciation Day offers a unique opportunity to recognize and commend the unselfish dedication, compassion and strong family values that child care providers demonstrate everyday.

In Alabaster, the Shelby County Daycare Association began as a support group. Each person’s problems, experiences and solutions are shared in monthly meetings. This group now includes more than 30 members, who are all licensed, certified and trained. Monitoring by the Alabama Department of Human Resources, along with First Aid, CPR and nutritional and professional classes, makes for a safer “provider” for your precious treasures.

On Saturday, May 15, the Shelby County Daycare Association held their annual banquet at a local restaurant. President Patsy Kendrick did an excellent job in handling the program and distributing gifts provided by parents and local businesses.

Next year, before Mother’s Day, remember the providers who “mother” your little ones each day you work.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at bobthames1942@yahoo.com.