AFSME Local 602 - MSU Moorhead

Far More Than Babysitters

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"I always said I wanted to give back to my community," says St. Paul provider Mary Albert.

“A lot of people think we’re just babysitting,” says Karla Scapanski, an in-home provider in Sauk Rapids. “It would be nice to be ‘just a baby sitter.’ It’s not even remotely close to what our job profession is.”

“Some people think we’re too stupid to do anything else,” says Kim French, a provider in Maplewood. “So, I start talking to them about the psychological and physiological part of brain development.”

French, like many providers, has formal education in early childhood development. She, like many providers, designs her own curriculum.

“I’m not a baby sitter, I’m an educator,” says St. Paul provider Mary Albert. “Kids don’t come to my child care to look at TV.”

Albert is a regular presence at her neighborhood school, talks with neighborhood parent-teacher groups, and has Head Start instructors and other teachers observe how she interacts with the children in her care.

Kathy Stevens, of Brainerd, mentors other providers and presents workshops and certified trainings. “People think we’re uneducated, that we just sit on a couch. They just don’t understand.”

Providers say they need the wisdom of a parent, the knowledge of a teacher, the heart of a social worker, the healing power of a pediatrician, the savvy of an entrepreneur, and the patience of a saint.

“We’re the mothers, the nurses, the grandmothers, the nutritionist, someone to hug on,” Albert says.

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