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.