5 Ways to Support Your Child’s Childcare Center or Preschool

In the flurry of back-to-school preparations, make a point to remember your child’s preschool or childcare center. Unfortunately, many parents don’t realize childcare teachers need support and donations! The good news is that you support your older children’s elementary teachers are the same ways you can support a childcare teacher.

Much like public school teachers, childcare teachers finance a large chunk of the supplies in their classrooms. Depending on where they work, they may be allotted a small monthly or weekly budget. However, that budget is often much smaller than they need.

For example, the last private center I worked for allotted approximately $50 per month for classroom supplies. Typically I spent $100-$150 to cover the extensive and immersive lesson plans expected by the school’s standards.

But don’t worry if financial donations or supplies aren’t a way you’re able to help. You can support your child’s center or preschool in many other ways!

1. Donations

Donations are one of the top ways to support your child’s preschool. Teachers are in constant need of supplies. However, before buying twenty packs of Crayola markers, ask your child’s teacher what they need most.

Their answers may surprise you! As a teacher, I constantly needed more plain white paper, magazines to cut up, building supplies (LEGOS, blocks, magnet tiles), and stickers; preschoolers LOVE stickers.

If you have gently used toys, book, clothes, and even art supplies you no longer need, teachers can find a way to use them! Teachers need extra clothes for accidents and spills. And adult clothes are great for dress-up and dramatic play! Gently used toys can be added to the shelves as something entirely “new” to the class. 

And if your child’s teacher cannot utilize something you’ve donated, chances are another teacher in the building can. So before you box up all those old toys and clothes for the local thrift store, talk to your child’s preschool teacher about what they could possibly use!

2. Read a Story or Lead a Craft

Volunteering your time is another excellent way to support your child’s preschool. Offer to read a story or lead a craft or activity. Often teachers have sing-ups for mystery readers or helper parents. 

Reading a book to your child’s class frees up a few minutes for their teacher to prep or have a moment of downtime plus, it’s a special moment for your child!

If the teacher’s available times don’t align with your work schedule, talk to them about a time that works for you or options to volunteer in another role.

3. Join Parent Committees

Parent involvement varies from school to school. However, most childcare centers and preschools will have options for parents to volunteer for events or committees. Taking an interest in your child’s education is among the best ways to support their school.

Parent committees often assist in planning school-wide events. Parents may consult on the curriculum or educational opportunities available. Or, they may support the teachers by setting up donation drives for classroom supplies or collecting teacher gifts during the holidays or teacher appreciation week..

4. Share A Part of Your Culture

Teachers love when families share a part of their culture with the classroom. Learning about other cultures develops empathy and teaches children about the greater world. 

Everyone has a culture, so even if you think your culture is exactly the same as all the other kids in the class, I guarantee there is something special your family does that is unique.

Culture isn’t only about what country you come from, your race, or your religion. Your culture is what makes you, you! So, for example, perhaps in your family you celebrate birthdays by opening a present at breakfast; that is part of your culture. Or maybe your family cooks roasted duck for Christmas. That is also part of your culture. 

Think about your family’s traditions and ask your child’s preschool teacher if you can share one with the class. It can be anything from music and art to sports or cooking!

5. Respect the Profession

Perhaps the most crucial way to support your child’s preschool or childcare center is by respecting the profession. Childcare teachers are often labeled as “babysitters” or not real teachers. Not only is that thought process damaging to the profession, but it’s also damaging to how you view the people entrusted to care for your child. 

In most states, childcare lead teachers must have a two, if not four-year, degree in early childhood. Many have master’s degrees. In addition to obtaining a degree specific to early childhood, most states require ongoing training and continuing education hours. 

Early childhood educators are specifically trained in the development of children from birth to three, five, or even eight. They understand how to design and implement curriculum specific to children at various ages and stages of development. They understand the basics of child psychology, how to foster for social emotional development and screen for developmental delays. Therefore I encourage you to respect the profession of early childhood educators and encourage other parents to do the same.

July 25th, 2023, by L. ELizabeth Forry

written by

L. Elizabeth Forry 

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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