When the pandemic hit, many businesses closed down, but essential businesses had to remain open. Anne Brandt, Executive Director of Lincoln Littles, notes that 75% of Lincoln, Nebraska parents with kids under the age of six are both working parents. For this reason, she considers child care essential and knew that these parents needed child care centers to stay open as well as entrusted them to keep their children safe.
It is no secret that child care providers and professionals throughout the world had to think fast about how to keep open and reopen child care centers, and the child care providers in Lincoln were no exception. This is because child care professionals like Anne Brandt and Suzanne Schneider of Lincoln Littles, and Prudence Devney of Fingerprints Child Development Center know that their success is vital to economic recovery.
A Passionate Network of Advocates Zoom to Action
Lincoln Littles raises opportunities for all children, helping them gain access to quality care and education– ensuring they are ready for school and a life of learning. Lincoln Littles is transforming the landscape of early childhood by expanding high-quality choices and supporting families, early childhood providers, teachers, businesses, and our community. The collective work of Lincoln Littles helps “even the playing field,” especially at a time when brain development is critical – elevating early childhood for all children.
Fingerprints Child Development Center is a nonprofit ministry of Capitol City Christian Church. They have been specifically developed to meet the needs of younger children and their families. Fingerprints provides an open and welcoming community that provides high-quality care and a great educational experience for your child.
Lincoln Little’s COVID-19 Response
At the beginning of the pandemic, both Lincoln Littles and Fingerprints Child Development Center knew that they had to stay open as a part of the essential businesses in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, many child care providers in Lincoln were confused and concerned about how they were to reopen and continue to operate safety.
This is when Anne and Suzanne of Lincoln Littles started to host Zoom calls with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, as well as multiple child care providers and centers so that they could ask questions, collaborate with other child care providers, and receive any additional support and advice. Anne and Suzanne found that the Zoom calls allowed providers to share their experiences, and they were extremely grateful for that opportunity. These Zoom calls that Lincoln Littles hosted also allowed child care providers to work together with the Health Department to make methodical and comprehensive decisions that would allow child care centers to stay open, as well focus all of their attention on the safety and health of the kids and their staff.
In early April, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Lincoln Littles launched ChildcareLNK, an effort to connect parents and caregivers with available licensed child care throughout the city. “The pandemic has shifted and changed the child care landscape in our community,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “With ChildcareLNK, we are helping providers, parents, and the local businesses and organizations who need their employees to be working,” said Anne Brandt, Executive Director of Lincoln Littles. This vital tool was missing in our community prior to the pandemic, but the current crisis has clarified the need.
Continuing To Recover Lincoln’s Child Care
Prudence at Fingerprints Child Development Center has said that they have taken pride in the fact that their illnesses have gone down across the board due to:
- Increased sanitization
- Face mask requirements
- Multiple temperature checks
- Continuing to be diligent in their COVID-19 safety policies and procedures
The staff at Fingerprints makes it a top priority to routinely disinfect their center, which is vital for their center to stay open. The success of Lincoln Littles and Fingerprints Development Center as well as other child care centers is also due to the partnership and support from parents, staff, the child care community, and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.
Many Nebraska organizations, such as Lincoln Littles and Fingerprints Child Development Center, have worked together to create a list of resources for child care providers to help them through the pandemic. Resources include CARES Act funding, physical and mental health, cleaning and disinfectants, professional development, and more.
Committing to Economic Recovery
There are a lot of hard questions to ask during a pandemic, especially when it comes to those who are running their own businesses. And in order for those who are running their own businesses to stay open, as a community we need to come together and support those owners who are practicing safe COVID-19 guidelines.
You can register your business, like Lincoln Littles and Fingerprints Child Development Center, by pledging to be a business that is committed to safely recovering our Lincoln economy and community. Or you can access the business directory which lists businesses who have pledged to recover Lincoln together by following directive health measures.