PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The first order of business at Tuesday’s Pittsburgh City Council meeting was a proclamation by Councilman Corey O’Connor.
The Democrat represents District 5 in the city.
His resolution encourages others to do away with the term “daycare” and encourages them instead to call it “child care.” That is why his resolution declared September 24, 2019 “Call It Child Care Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
What is the difference?
Lissa Geiger Shulman, the Director of Public Policy for the non-profit Trying Together, says the workers do far more than play games with the kids.
“They really are caring for that child, the whole child,” says Shulman. “It is not just the cognitive and academic growth, (it is) their social, their emotional, their physical needs and their health.”
Trying Together wants all caregivers for children to feel valued.
Approximately two dozen children from the Small World Early Learning and Development Centers were in City Council chambers on Tuesday. O’Connor made sure they had a front-row seat to hear the proclamation.
The kids also led the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the meeting.
“We are actually talking about a child’s care from a young age all the way through, not just daycare where they are playing,” says O’Connor. “I mean it is education, a lot of things that really matter. Getting a kid off on the right start really makes a difference.”
The notion of needing round-the-clock care for kids was highlighted when five children died in an Erie home last month. They were sleeping in a center when the home caught on fire in the middle of the night.
Shulman says that is another reason for the name change: for many families, care for our kids happens at many different times.
“Childcare has grown beyond even caring for the day,” Shulman said. “It’s evening. It’s overnight. It’s many hours, and it’s something that when it is done well it is something that is supporting health, development, and the well-being of children and their whole families.”
O’Connor says the people caring for the kids before they start school, and for many of those children during after school hours, are serving a very important role in their development.
“They are way more than babysitters,” he said. “Especially nowadays, these people are shaping a kids’ life. You may not think there is an impact at such a young age, but there really is.”