Child Care vs. Day Care

When I first got into this biz, we called it “day care” and didn’t think twice about it. That’s what it had been called for years. Now the hip term is “child care” because, as one of my colleagues said to me, “You care for children, after all, not days!”

But “child care” has less of a verbal punch than “day care,” so I’m sticking with it. That reminds me of the brilliant George Carlin PTSD routine. After WWI we called it “shell shock” and you knew exactly what it meant! (RIP Mr. Carlin.)

But I digress.

Even more recently, the really appropriate, officially-approved terminology is “Early Education,” and I am called an “Educator” instead of a “Care Provider.” Let me tell you why I don’t agree with this idea. I do educate children. I teach them how to pee on the potty, eat with a fork, and treat the people around them with respect. I don’t spend time developing curriculum and I don’t feel that it’s my job. Two-year-olds do not require a fundamental understanding of ordinal numbers. They require hugs and kisses and lots of fun.

Whenever I get hung up on this idea, with all the pressures the state is putting on us for ever more responsibilities in our job, Dave asks me one question. It’s the same question and I’ve heard it many times (he’s a patient man). “Amy, did they all go home at the end of the day safe and cared for? Then everything else is gravy.”

Teachers in schools are Educators. They have a salary, benefits, sick time, and professional development days. They have a nurse, cook, janitor, reading specialists, behavior support staff, and a principal to deal with bad behavior and angry parents. I am one woman with eight children who need my attention. They come first.

So if I’m in an official mood or just want to sound like I know what I’m talking about, I’ll call it child care. Otherwise please live with day care and know that I am in no way disrespecting our fine profession. I know I don’t care for days.

2 thoughts on “Child Care vs. Day Care

  1. Amy – Cecelia’s Mom here – somehow stumbled across your blog during my nightly interweb walkings. As an early childhood educator for 15 years now I have read with joy and appreciation so many of these entries . . . and then I got here and I found this big BUT . . . While I respect your choice to refer to your work in whatever language you choose I also feel compelled to call it into question. I offer you this – While we do care for children and as Dave reminds you ‘that they leave safe and cared for’ is the basic work we do in “child care” this blog, all you share here is where the early childhood educating comes in. As educators we don’t need to teach children what their work is, no matter what DECE wants of us, as Vivian Paley so eloquently writes about ‘play IS the work of childhood’ children know what to do. But what we do and obviously you do SO well if what you write here is any indication, is educate parents, and other members of our community about childhood. We educate that children are born powerful and intelligent, we educate that children need to be treated with respect and kindness and we educate that sometimes that kindness comes in the form of singing through the meltdowns, recognizing and naming an emotion rather then turning a bling eye, or setting clear and consistent boundaries throughout the day. This early childhood educating is so valuable and so needed in our society where so many parents flounder in fear (cause I think they probably do too much nightly walking on the interwebs lol) and so many agencies, administrators, and the media are trying to take the joy and adventure from childhood. While you can freely and proudly call yourself a day care or child care or hippo care provider I say you are an educator and I am proud to know you as one!

  2. Pingback: Cleaning the Basement « Sitting On The Baby

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