Joe Biden said in the most recent debate that, “Three-year olds should be in preschool, not day care.” He, and all the presidential candidates that support this idea, need to be informed that adding 3-year olds to universal pre-K could shut down day cares.
When 4-year olds were moved from child care programs to school-based pre-K programs, it became financially difficult to impossible for many child care providers to continue providing high quality early care and education for infants and toddlers. Due to high staffing requirements for infants and toddlers, we lose money providing their care. Infant and toddler care is subsidized by the tuition we receive for three and four year-olds. Without them, we would have to double what we charge for infants and toddlers, and parents can’t afford what we already charge.
Iowa already has lost 43 percent of it’s child care providers since Iowa initiated universal pre-K for 4-year olds. Most parents do not work from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and they do not have enough vacation time to stay home with their kids during summer, winter and spring breaks from school. Even with universal pre-K, they still need child care.
We already have child care deserts in many areas. If 3-year olds are added to universal pre-K, we will have a far bigger crisis than what we have right now. Many more day cares will close.