“In my opinion, quality early care and education is an understanding of child development, providing care that develops the whole child, [and] desire to gain more knowledge on development,” said Cindy Molina, Gering C4K Early Childhood Community Coordinator.
Gering Communities for Kids (C4K) prides itself in building a brighter future for their families through community engagement.
As an organization that drives home the same mission, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation couldn’t agree more. In our minds, we can accomplish some incredible feats, including creating quality childcare for children 0-5. Our initiative, Communities for Kids (C4K), accomplishes this goal in partnership with communities like Gering.
Gering C4K values transparency in their relationships just as much as childcare.
Cindy said that quality care involves open communication with parents and the community and providing a safe, nurturing environment where a child can explore and learn.
For Gering, one of the biggest childcare challenges has been bringing local businesses to the table to understand the importance of quality care and education.
Gering C4K isn’t alone in their struggle. Throughout the past few years, we’ve taken on the issue of quality care alongside these Nebraska towns. We accomplish this goal through initiatives, including C4K. But we can’t do the work on our own. Together with communities, we can elevate power in numbers and shine a light on the importance of early childhood programs.
True to our passion, we have data to back up this claim. Helen Raikes, a former Nebraska Children Board Member and retired professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, has researched the topic.
At the 2019 Thriving Children Conference, Helen made her point clear around the long-term effects of early care. Children who receive quality care are more likely to own homes, pay taxes, and attend college.
So, how do we spread the word?
Magnetic Personalities: Gering’s Creative Approach to Spreading Awareness of Early Childhood Programs
Gering took a strategic approach to emphasize the importance of early childhood programs. To accomplish this feat, they realized that they needed to amplify their current, local providers.
One of Gering’s goals is the raise awareness of childcare’s importance to their local businesses. What better way to spread the word than through literal face-to-face interaction with the entire community present?
With that, Gering C4K agreed that when it comes to spreading the word about childcare’s value, there’s no place like home with the message in plain sight.
The Gering C4K core team supported the town’s Oregon Trail Days Kiddie Parade. When Gering held the parade, the team took marketing action.
During the event, the core team handed out magnets imprinted with contact information for the available providers in the area!
“We ordered provider information magnets for the public, that was a big success. The magnets listed all of the early childhood providers/programs in Gering, sharing information about their services,” said Cindy.
“We just jumped in and were committed to getting started,” said Cindy.
Gering has demonstrated power in numbers. Although they’ve only worked with C4K for one year, they’ve been marching ever since.
But marching to the beat of quality care still takes time.
“It’s ok to go slow and be patient,” said Cindy.
Cindy said new communities that wish to create quality care should seek out other C4K communities that have succeeded.
“Listen to others who have been where you are,” she said.