Lincoln Littles has dedicated itself to creating and sustaining high-quality care for children between birth through five. Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is delighted that Communities for Kids (C4K), our early childhood initiative, works in partnership with Lincoln Littles.
So, what DOES Lincoln Littles have to say about their childcare journey?
As we’ve discovered, every community’s challenges, joys, and insights are unique as the location itself. Lincoln Littles is no different.
What Lincoln Littles Has Learned about Early Care’s Importance…
As we spoke with Lincoln Littles’ Associate Director, Suzanne Schneider, we found out that she and her team made an important discovery. Suzanne said that Lincoln is incredibly supportive of creating quality childcare, especially in light of the current shortage.
Suzanne said that the key is to communicate with fellow residents and convey the message – childcare IS important.
“This community will come together and support children if they are informed about what is really going on and what the needs are,” said Suzanne.
Despite the ongoing and prevalent childcare shortage, Suzanne said that Lincoln Littles encountered some unexpected surprises in the form of support.
Although the pandemic was an unexpected storm, there were also silver linings. Some of the upsides included a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant that served as funding for the organization’s childcare scholarships.
Suzanne added that C4K’s technical and financial assistance and Prosper Lincoln’s agenda have added a unique layer of approach and support.
“Childcare is an essential part of the economy and the infrastructure,” she said. “People are sensitive to this work and the history of what has already happened.”
The history of childcare has been complex. Only recently has our nation recognized early care and education at the forefront of our priorities.
For better or worse, the pandemic heightened our awareness of childcare’s importance. Working parents were already unable to find and afford care before COVID-19 struck.
As the pandemic worsened, many childcare providers closed their doors temporarily or permanently, creating even more childcare scarcity, and others were forced to raise rates to keep up with rising costs.
Meanwhile, Lincoln Littles’ childcare lessons include not only communicating its importance with their community but listening as well.
“There is so much to learn and know about [childcare and education]; it is multifaceted,” said Suzanne. “We learned to be listeners and flexible.”
Another valuable takeaway that Suzanne imparts to any new C4K community is every area is different.
A Way Forward: Lincoln Littles Envisions Quality Programming, Thanks to Their Hard Work and Community Support
Suzanne said that for Lincoln Littles, their childcare hopes are twofold. In one year, Suzanne and the team would love to see local childcare providers collaborating more.
In five years, Suzanne said she would love to see more quality childcare and increased access and affordability, along with a more supported and valued workforce.
Suzanne left us with a lingering definition of what quality care entails, thanks to community support for the present and future.
Suzanne said that quality care entails consistent caregivers that offer nurturing, responsive interactions.
We couldn’t agree more.