Child care growing industry - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Child care growing industry

September 17, 2002

Albany--There are more people working in day care than there are teachers, farmers and accountants. A new study reveals that Americans are expected to spend 41 billion dollars on child care this year alone. Here in Southwest Georgia, day care center's are popping up on nearly every corner, and child care providers say the competition is growing.

This little boy is precisely stacking wooden blocks, one of the many toys the Children's Friend Learning Center provides. But the games these kids play are not just for fun, they are educational, too. Children's Friend Learning Center Assistant Director Tara Price says, "We're trying to focus more on a learning environment, preparing children to go to school."

These days, day cares providers are more than baby-sitters. Here, they call themselves teachers and say they are preparing the students for kindergarten. The teachers say parents are just expecting more. Teacher Assistant Valerie Leven says, "It helps the parents out getting their kids ready for kindergarten. It doesn't give them a hassle, helps them interact with other kids, get along and make friends."

At this child care center, parents pay an average of 84 dollars a week, including meals. More children are being enrolled, and the day care industry is growing at a rate of 8 percent a year. Probably the best indication that the demand for child services is up can be found in the phone book, the list of day care centers is long. And within a five mile radius of the Children's Friend Learning Center on Telfair Avenue there are at least six other day care centers. The child care business is booming, and workers predict the demand will only increase.

85 percent of fathers and 50 percent of mothers with pre-school aged children work. And, parents that put their children in day care are a vital part of the national economy, earning more than $100 billion dollars combined.

Posted at 3:25 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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