The child care industry is pivotal for parents being able to work and for children’s early learning. It struggles to compete for workers.
Traffic was roaring up and down NW 27th Avenue in Miami, but most of the children inside 1 World Learning Center snoozed away one afternoon last week.
It was nap time at the preschool.
The soft sounds of three and 4-year-olds sleeping on green cots with their blankets wrapped around them filled their classroom. There was soft music playing for the younger children in other rooms. Two infants hadn’t yet settled down. One four-month-old was rubbing her eyes and crying softly.
That Monday, 23 children were at the school ranging in age from four months to four years. That was about half the number the center usually cares for, according to owner and director Antoinette Patterson.
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She’s run her daycare at this location since 2015. She started in the child care business almost 20 years ago. She’s been through economic recessions, hurricanes and now a global pandemic.
She called the early months of the pandemic “chaos” amid a mad rush for masks, gloves and cleaning supplies. That has given way to awareness, vaccines for most people (except young kids), and treatments.
“We figured it out,” said Patterson.