Reimagining child care in Kansas communities

Conversations are happening. Partnerships and coalitions are forming. City administrators, early childhood professionals, school districts, non-profit and faith-based leaders, families, and concerned community members are coming together to explore how child care capacity can grow to meet the needs of all families. There is no onesizefitsall approach to child care, and communities are finding creative ways to tailor their approaches to meet local needs.

The snapshots below introduce some aspects of child care provision that Kansas communities are exploring and investing in. Read on for inspiration and to add your own ideas to child care conversations.

Working with School Districts to Expand Child Care

Kansans are learning from each other and from the experiences of early childhood leaders in other states about how to approach collaboration with school districts. Buy-in from superintendents and district-level leadership are critical elements for successfully increasing a district’s capacity for early childhood. Early childhood specialists, champions from the classroom, and community collaborators are equally necessary for expanding capacity for child care in communities across Kansas. 

Recruiting New Workers into Child Care Careers

Kansas needs more young professionals entering the child care field. Recruiting for child care professions begins as early as high school and requires both local school districts and higher education institutions to identify and promote pathways of learning that lead to credentials. Enhancements to career pathway programs in high schools, mentoring opportunities, paid internships, and child care apprenticeships are all potential avenues to explore as communities work to boost the number of workers entering child care professions.

This Kansas career guide describes opportunities to nurture a newborn, work as a paraprofessional, teach preschool, teach other professionals, and more.

The Kansas Early Childhood Career Pathway is a new resource communities can use to strengthen career pathways, design mentoring programs, and facilitate paid internships or apprenticeship opportunities with local providers.

Bridging Gaps in Reliable Care: Substitute Pools, Drop-in Spaces, and Non-traditional Hours

Closing a child care business or classroom for even a day is often not an option for providers – they can’t afford to lose a day’s work in an already low-paying/low-margin industry. The same is true for the families these providers support – unexpected child care closings and unreliable care options directly limit a parent’s ability to work. The ripple effect of sporadic child care closings, coupled with few options for drop-in care, or care outside of traditional business hours, creates gaps in business productivity for employers across the state. Communities are generating ideas and formalizing ways to create and expand substitute pools, hours, and drop-in care options for families.

Washington’s statewide substitute pool

Access to Quality Child Care for Families with Nontraditional Work Schedules

Providing Intergenerational Care

Intergenerational care programs are simply described as having some level of interaction among different age groups. Programs may operate in shared buildings, or participants might come together in common spaces for meals, activities, or outdoor play. Some programs offer care for multiple age groups during the day, such as combined preschool and adult day care or senior centers, while other programs operate within full-time care settings—for example, child care centers housed within assisted living facilities.

Community Spotlight

While every community is unique, many communities are facing similar challenges. Early childhood solutions can be as diverse as the communities themselves. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other. Get ideas and inspiration from Kansans working together.

For Additional Guidance

Contact the Child Care Go Team

If you are working on child care solutions in your community and need support, the Go Team can help.

Email the Go Team