The costs of child care are even more extreme for younger mothers. The average age when mother’s first give birth in the United States is 25.7 years, meaning that half of new mothers are under the age of 26 when they have their first child. Not surprisingly, younger mothers tend to have lower incomes: By virtue of their age, they have less job tenure and are more likely than older mothers to still be completing their education. But this means that mothers under age 25 with a young child who are paying for child care end up spending a staggering one-third—33 percent—of their income on care because they typically earn less. (see Table 1) It is critical that these women have the opportunity to finish their education and gain job experience, but child care expenses can make that a daunting prospect.
The Child Care Resource Network works in cooperation with Early Learning Indiana and their Indiana Business Partnership Project to develop child care resource and referral programs for employers who recognize the relationship between quality child care arrangements and increased productivity, reduced turnover, reduced tardiness and absenteeism, raised morale and an enhanced corporate image.
For all providers, the largest expense is labor. In a 1999 Canadian survey of formal child care centers, labor accounted for 63% of costs and the industry had an average profit of 5.3%. Given the labor-intensive nature of the industry, it is not surprising that the same survey showed little economies of scale between larger and smaller operators.
Our tuition based preschool programs use the Connect 4 Learning curriculum with an emphasis on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) to promote innovative thinking in our young learners. We offer a literacy rich program which includes oral language development, rhyme, writing, and phonemic awareness. We believe children learn through play and hands-on experiences. We place an enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating force for creative learning. Each preschool classroom environment is equipped with these interest areas: dramatic play, blocks, art, sand/water sensory table, math manipulatives/puzzles and games, music and movement, science and STEAM stations. Outdoor play time, library, technology and cooking activities are included in our daily schedules. We recognize class size is another crucial factor in educating young children. Our preschool class sizes will not exceed 16 children in a classroom. Smaller class sizes mean we are able to provide more individualized instruction to our preschoolers during our small group times and throughout our preschool day.
Some companies have improved their child-care policies. Earlier this month, Starbucks SBUX, +2.77% said it would offer 10 subsidized back-up child care days annually to workers, meant to help staffers who find themselves in a jam when care arrangements fall apart. The company is teaming up with Care.com so that workers can pay a dollar an hour for backup care, or $5 for a day’s stay at in-center child care.