Jamie Brown has been a child care provider for sixteen and a half years. From her home in Prior Lake, she serves the children of nurses, teachers and those in critical manufacturing.
“By staying open and caring for their children, I am able to make sure that they are able to take care of so many other people too,” said Brown. “I also have children of an electrician, a plumber, and other trades that are essential to keeping our country going during the crisis.”
Brown is happy to see more of a focus on family child care at various levels. “At first it didn’t feel like there was,” she said. “It felt like we were being asked to stay open, but nothing was in place to help us.”
Brown earned her Early Childhood Development degree and says she “had the privilege of teaching and shaping little minds” for several years before having a child of her own. She and husband now have two children. One who is married and lives out-of-state, and the other who is 9 years old and in third grade. Due to the pandemic, Brown is doing distance-learning with her daughter and other children in her program daily.
Brown has lost enrolled families due to the COVID-19 crisis because their parents are out of work or home with their kids. “I’m most worried about my families and if they will be able to return to work,” she said. She hopes the stimulus package will help relieve some of the stress that she and her families are feeling.
“I am happy that I am able to help out where I am needed. Although it may be a struggle, we will all get through it together.”
Brown says her child care program is like one big family. She misses seeing the kids that are not coming right now, as well as their moms and dads.
“Parents tell me the kids that are not here miss me, and they miss their friends. I have been able to do calls with some of them or see them from across the street when we take our walk in the evening which is wonderful,” she said. “There really is a sense of community within the group that we have. It is hard on everyone, especially the children, because they just don’t understand.”