To address critical child care provider staffing shortages, the Open Hearth Community Center is facilitating a substitute pool that aims to match interested community members with specific child care providers in the Mad River Valley.
The idea to create a community-wide pool of substitute care providers emerged from a gathering last October that brought together more than a dozen participants from local centers that offer infant/toddler, pre-school, and after-school care, including the Waitsfield Children’s Center, Neck of the Woods, The Learning Garden, Sugarbush Day School, Open Hearth After School program, and the Warren School Kindergarten-Preschool Afterschool program.
Participants discussed how current staff shortages are resulting in difficult decisions and conditions for providers and working parents alike, such as reduced hours of operations and overburdened workers. Agreement at the event coalesced around the value of a substitute pool to collectively address child care provider staffing needs across The Valley.
“We are looking for retired professionals or people who love working with children to offer their time and skills a couple of days a month,” said April Smith, Open Hearth board member. “These are paid positions and time commitments are flexible.” Smith added, “We want to make it as easy as possible for community members to connect with local child care providers.”
Open Hearth is a local nonprofit organization with a mission to create and sustain safe, multigenerational community spaces and programs in the Mad River Valley.