If you’re a working parent, you’re probably aware that less than 1 in 3 children have a full-time, stay-at-home parent. While it is usually the mother who remains in the home to care for younger children, more fathers are caring for their children full-time while mothers work full-time.
When you’re a single parent, however, you may need to work full-time in order to provide for yourself and your children. In this situation, you may be concerned with whether or not your children are receiving enough attention so they are able to develop school-readiness skills.
Currently, 70.5% of mothers are participating in the labor force. While these mothers have children of varying ages, there are 64.8% with children under 6 years old.
While 23.4% of children 5 and younger are in some type of organized child care situation, this doesn’t guarantee that they are developing the skills they will need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. While some day care centers and preschools do provide an early education curriculum, others do not. As a result, it’s important to place young children in programs that prepare them mentally, emotionally, and socially for kindergarten.
By the time a child is 5, their brains have developed 85%. Due to advances in neural development, it has been shown that a child’s environment shapes their brain’s architecture. When children are in a positive, supportive, and stimulating environment for their first few years of life, it can make a significant impact on their cognitive development, which includes the ability to process information.
While some parents may opt for hiring babysitters rather than enrolling them in an organized prekindergarten program, the cost for hiring a sitter may be prohibitive for many parents. A recent survey by Care.com showed that in 2014 alone, sitters earned around $13.50 an hour. Rates do vary based on zip code, the sitter’s level of experience, and other factors, such as how many children require care.
It’s important to note that some babysitters may have prior training that includes early childhood education. Others, however, may not have the experience necessary to prepare young children for school.
When surveyed, over 2/3 of Americans agreed that businesses and the government could do more to fund child care. Fortunately, there are additional free education programs available in many areas, such as Florida, due to new laws and regulations. As a result, you may have heard about VPK.
If you’re asking the question, “What is VPK?” it stands for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, which is a free early education program available to children living in Florida. If you have a child that will be 4 or 5 years old by September 1, rather than paying for a sitter while you’re at work, you can contact this program and ask, “What is VPK, and how do I enroll my child?”
Once you learn more about the benefits of your child attending a prekindergarten program, you will be able to respond with confidence when other parents ask, “What is VPK?” The importance of early childhood education has been established, so once you enroll your child in VPK, you will know that they will receive what they need to prepare for school.