Thursday, May 5, 2011

EDITORIAL: Women Need Affordable Daycare To Pursue Education

By Erika Martin

Education Columnist

One of the things that I am grateful for while pursuing my high school diploma in my 30's is the fact that my kids are in school while I'm working with my assessor at the Vermont Adult Learning Center. I'm also grateful that I work for myself so my schedule is flexible and I can go to meetings and work on my schoolwork while my kids are at school. Not every mom has these luxuries though, and it can be difficult for them to make the time they need for higher learning.

Many women work outside the home, some are single moms and some have children that are too young to leave by themselves. There are many obstacles that mothers have to overcome and work around when pursuing a higher education, a diploma or a GED.

Many programs and colleges are built around the framework of reaching out to young people without children. While that's understandable, since most of those attending college are teenagers right out of high school, it puts mothers of young children at a disadvantage when trying to pursue a higher education. Mothers of young children need to find child care and a way to pay for it. They need to work around job schedules, as well.

Mothers that are pursuing a higher education or brushing up on skills that would help to get a promotion at work need to have better options for flexibility and child care. Some programs and colleges offer child care for free or a minimal cost but there are far too few of these types of programs out there. Those without child care options claim that funding is unavailable for staff to take care of these younger children and that leaves many mothers in a bind and there are many that put off or never pursue their education goals because of this.

In thinking about this, I propose a solution to this problem. Volunteer/intern-run child care could take much of the financial burden off of programs and colleges. There are high school students that are planning to go into early education, special education and child-related professions that could earn credits and experience by volunteering in a child-care center on campus so that mothers can pursue an education.

Many middle schools offer babysitting certification classes to students and being able to volunteer their time in a community college child-care center would give them additional experience and also looks great on a resume and college applications. Many students are looking for community service projects and volunteering in a center like this could fulfill requirements and credits needed. College students needing intern opportunities and credits could also volunteer. There are also older people in the community that love working with children that are looking for volunteer opportunities to fill up their days.

I realize that there are financial hurdles in running centers like these. Insurance and liability would need to be paid, some staff may need to be paid, etc. There are grants and private monies available that could be applied for. Local fund raisers and organizations that look to provide opportunities for mothers to get a higher education are also a way to access the needed funds. Of course, there are logistics behind this solution that would need to be worked out, but it can be done with the right planning and organization.

College Grants for Single Mothers lists seven major universities that offer student daycare services.

1. The University of North Florida In Jacksonville has daycare services for students located right on campus. This is also true of its Gainesville, Florida location.
2. All locations of the University of Wisconsin Madison, Milwaukee and River Falls offer on campus daycare.
3. The University of Southern California offers daycare services.
4. Harvard University now offers on campus day care for its Ivy League students.
5. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Chicago Campus
6. University of Georgia
7. Georgia State also offers daycare

Below are two programs that offer childcare grants:

The Minnesota State University Mankato
offers a childcare grant

The University of North Florida has a grant program

There are many ways that we can make pursuing a higher education for women with children an accessible and less stressful endeavor but we need to pull together as a community to make this possible and offering child care is one way we can start.

About the columnist:

Erika Martin was withheld from attaining her high school diploma and a higher education due to living in a spiritually abusive upbringing. She is currently working towards attaining her high school diploma and plans to pursue a degree in Psychology after graduation this June. Erika will highlight relevant news and information that relates to education as well as chronicle her journey toward her diploma.


Great article! I think it'd be a wonderful idea for education majors to help in a campus daycare setting. It could definitely be a work-study option!

Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!

Day Care Centres


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