Monica Mitchell runs a daycare for 12 children in Taylor.
“I spend most of my day with the children and my mindset is always about teaching them and ensuring their wellbeing,” Monica said. “At the end of the day, you don’t have much time to get all your business things in order. It’s a challenge and I want to learn to be more efficient.”
Monica is one of 130 childcare providers who attended a six-hour conference in Detroit on Saturday (2/19). The conference was organized by the Southwest Solutions Childcare Collaborative.
“Providers themselves asked us to put together this conference to address their questions about the administrative side of childcare services,” said Susan Hooks Brown, early care community organizer with Southwest Solutions.
The conference featured workshops on licensing, curriculum development, finances, insurance, time and stress management, and other management topics. Attendees earned 6 hours of training toward Michigan Department of Childcare Licensing requirements.
“This is a great opportunity to get valuable information about these issues and also to network with other providers, specialists and vendors,” said Melissa Dorman, who, like her friend Monica, operates a group daycare in Taylor.
Both Melissa and Monica take classes at our Larkins Early Learning Center (ELC). The classes teach parents and caregivers about early childhood development and how to prepare young children to be “ready to learn” for school. Melissa and Monica said that the workshops at the conference complimented the lessons offered at the ELC.
“It is critically important for providers to be trained and knowledgeable about all aspects of their business operations because it enhances the quality of care they can offer and enables them to have a stable and sustainable model,” said Matt Gillard, policy and advocacy consultant with Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC).
Matt was the keynote speaker at the conference. He emphasized that parents and providers need to advocate for a strong and committed investment in early childhood education and care, especially as the state budget battle ensues. Although the recent budget proposal from Governor Rick Snyder includes significant reductions in many social service programs, the plan leaves early childhood funding at the same level as last year.
“The Governor has prioritized early childhood education in his first budget, but we have to let him know that he must fight for it against reductions that the legislature might propose,” Matt told the conference.