A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Learning Grove finalizing plan to offer emergency childcare for young and school-age children

While Ohio and Kentucky are still finalizing the requirements and regulations around providing emergency childcare for young and school-age children, Learning Grove is ready to respond to the needs of our health care workers and other employees.

In response to the COVID-19 viral epidemic currently facing our community, Learning Grove, formerly Children Inc., is prepared to begin operating high-quality early-learning childcare for health care workers and other employees required to work during the outbreak.

Early learning. (Photo provided)

When approved, Learning Grove will have the ability to open two programs in Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio with daily operational hours as soon as possible. These two locations will provide developmental and supportive education for children ages infant through school-age during these uncertain times.

These emergency response programs will provide lower ratios of teachers to children in each classroom to support challenging transitions for children in new environments. Learning Grove will deliver childcare that continues to develop the social and emotional strengths and resilience of all children, which is critical now more than ever.

“We know that traumatic events can have a serious and lasting impact on children and their development,” stated Learning Grove CEO Shannon Starkey-Taylor, “that’s why we’re committed to providing not only childcare, but lower teacher-to-child ratios with evidence-based curriculum that will support their emotional well-being during these stressful times.”
Learning Grove is committed to providing this emergency response care to those families and children who most need it regardless of their ability to pay the full fee for the program.

“We’re working with local funders and partners to ensure that our teachers are paid appropriately and that we continue to provide high-quality education to serve those most in need in Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio,” said Starkey-Taylor.

Learning Grove is using all available resources to support its staff as they continue to provide much-needed services to the community. Despite the important nature of their work, a 2015 report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) showed that the median hourly wage for childcare workers in the U.S. is just $10.31.

Since the outbreak, as schools have closed, and families are practicing social distancing, Learning Grove has continued to provide critical support to families, teachers and partners throughout the community to continue education and development of children and students.

In partnership with Freestore Foodbank, Crayons to Computers, and the Community Learning Center Institute, Learning Grove’s Early Childhood Resource Coordinators and home visitors are connecting families to resources of food, household supplies, and educational materials. Staff are creating more content for caregivers to use at home while caring for young children, which can be accessed at www.learning-grove.org. Learning Grove is also utilizing their Learning Together RV to distribute food to families at several locations.

Learning Grove’s college and career coaching program, NaviGo, continues supporting middle school and high school students remotely through online trainings, aptitude tests, remote career exploration activities, and conversation guides for parents to use with their students.

As of the close of the program day on Friday, March 20 all Learning Grove childcare and school-age programs were closed to the general public as ordered on Tuesday, March 24 by Governor Beshear and pending order from Governor Dewine.

“In these difficult times, as in the best of times, Learning Grove is committed to the wellbeing of our children, our families, and our community. We are proud to be a part of the web of caring that will allow this special region to emerge stronger as the result of community wide compassion and collaboration,” Learning Grove said in a press release.

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