Los Angeles Times article about Kigala Preschool during pandemic

Pandemic drives parents to put older kids in day care; providers ‘literally had to become teachers’

When public schools closed last March, Tanya García watched attendance at her busy Hollywood day care plunge. Some days, only one toddler came. But in recent months, Angelica’s Daycare has been busier than ever — particularly among school-aged students.

“Two of them came to our day care, and the mom was like, ‘They’re so far behind right now, please help them with their ABCs,’” García said. “We literally had to become teachers.”

Indeed, preschool and day-care workers across the state say they have spent months managing ad hoc classrooms of older students — tutoring, troubleshooting and teaching supplementary material — while simultaneously caring for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Officials could not say exactly how many of California’s 810,000 child-care seats were occupied by remote learners, but experts and educators say the numbers have surged.

“Child-care providers are taking on a lot of what normally happens in school, but they aren’t being supported,” said Keisha Nzewi, director of public policy at the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. “Many people have been forced back to work outside of the home, so they have no choice — they need somewhere safe for their children to go.”

Teacher Jessy Morales, left, works with first grade student Ayza, at Kigala Preschool in Santa Monica.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Experts say it’s yet another example of how the pandemic has taxed the already overburdened early care and education system in California. Unlike K-12 teachers, who are more than 60% white, the majority of early educators and day-care providers come from communities of color hardest hit by the pandemic. About 17% also live in poverty, about six times the poverty rate for K-12 teachers.

Source: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-02-23/pandemic-drives-parents-to-put-older-kids-in-day-care

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