Yeah, I'd never heard of it either.
But the National Association for the Education of Young Children helped me out with a story this week, so today I got a press release reminding me that tomorrow, the Friday before Mother's Day, is Provider Appreciation Day, a day set aside to honor the daycare providers, babysitters, early childhood teachers and others who care for our young boys.
That's a cause I can get behind, because I've long said it's a travesty that we pay the people who care for our children and elderly less than almost everyone else. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2006, child care workers made about $17,630 a year, significantly less than the average salary of all Americans at $32,390.
Yet the work they do is of utmost importance. We've all heard of the critical importance of the birth to 3 window. We all know that early childhood experiences shape a child's ability to bond, to learn and to succeed in the world. But far too often, we choose childcare based on cost and convenience, rather than insisting on high quality. (To be fair, quality childcare can be hard to find.)
So tomorrow, say thank you to the dedicated childcare providers who are helping raise our sons. (For a list of creative ideas, click here.) Also take the time to share what you're learning about boys and their behavior and learning styles. While almost all childcare providers can tell you that boys and girls are different, few have formal training in gender differences and few truly know what boys need to succeed and thrive.
Your boys -- and their childcare providers -- will thank you.