Happy Child Care Provider Appreciation Day! Today, we recognize the millions of child care providers across the nation who give their time, experience, concern, and skills to our littlest learners year-round.

Intentionally celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day, Provider Appreciation Day was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents.  The day was created to express gratitude to the caregivers and early educators who dedicate their time and energy to taking care of children so that parents can work and support their families financially. This special day is meant to recognize all those who nurture, teach, and care for children in a variety of settings.

Little Wonders Daycare in Waterville

Throughout Minnesota, there are 8,355 licensed family child care providers serving 92,299 children, and 1,319 child care centers serving 108,491 kids. That’s more than 200,000 children across the state who are learning and growing thanks to the hard work of child care providers. And these early educators play such an important role! Teaching kids is actually a lot more like rocket science than babysitting. Quality teachers need to understand brain development, social and emotional growth, language development, cultural relevance and more.

Alexis LaMere with children

For parents, it can be a big, maybe even overwhelming decision, to choose a child care provider to entrust your child with. The years from birth to five years old are the most important development years for a child because the majority of the brain’s neural connections are made during this time. With the knowledge of how crucial a child’s early years are, it is important for parents and families to find a child care provider that offers not only a safe, fun environment, but also a high-quality program where their child will learn and be prepared when they go to school.

When asked what she loves about her daughter’s teachers at New Creations Child Care and Learning Center in Lino Lakes, MN, mother Alexis LaMere said, “They are so personable with the kids and families that they feel a part of my family. My daughter especially likes all the fun projects she gets to do.”

To understand what a great child care provider does, take a look at one of our Early Education Spotlights.  Here are just some of the high-quality programs we have featured in recent months:

Big Red House, Moorhead, MN

Here We Grow, Mankato, MN

Stepping Stones Childcare Learning Center, Brainerd, Baxter, Pequot Lakes, MN

People Serving People, Minneapolis, MN

Here We Grow Early Childhood Center near Mankato, MN

The first few years of life in a high-quality child care program has the power to change the trajectory of a child’s life and set them up to love learning. On this national day of recognition, be sure to thank a child care provider who inspires, supports, teaches, and loves your children during those crucial early years!