A Way to Survive

Over the years I’ve come to love this time of year when summer is (mostly) behind us and we shift our gaze toward autumn.  We’ve been in school almost two months, and it’s time for parent/teacher conferences.  After conferences we typically begin gearing up for our annual Halloween carnival.  COVID-19 has drastically changed everything, and this will be a different Halloween season.  Yet the Seed continues to grow and thrive through it all, much like the vines of small gourds growing on the playground.  They are volunteers, plants that have sprouted on their own volition.  Someone once said that it’s always important to pay attention to plants that appear spontaneously in our gardens because they are strong and, for whatever reason, want to be there.  They’re survivors.   

As I hear story after story about child care centers that aren’t making it through the pandemic and all the people who are suffering greatly due to the economic fallout, I feel a deep appreciation for our Seed community.  It’s not an easy time for us, and we’ve had to modify what we do significantly.  According to a recently published study,  86% of all child care centers are experiencing a decline in enrollment, with a 67% drop being the average.  Two-fifths of all centers report that they will have to close without public assistance.  In the words of one child care provider:  “As of June 22, my child care center became another casualty of COVID-19. Our closure leaves children without care and education, families with nowhere to go, and me as an unemployed, educated mother and early childhood administrator who has invested 30 years in the most essential part of our economy.”

When I hear words like these they remind me how fortunate we are here at the Seed.  Although we’ve had a drop in enrollment (ours is currently around 30%), while maintaining a full staff along with the added expenses of sanitation supplies and equipment, we are finding a way to make it work.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve received loans and grants that have helped us temporarily stay afloat.  Mainly we’ve been able to keep going because of our strong community.  We know these times have created hardships for many of our families, and we appreciate the continuing support.  Practices are in place to operate as efficiently as possible while not compromising the quality of our program.  Our intentions are to do whatever is necessary to keep each other safe while offering the best program we can.  Over the past four decades the Seed has found a way to survive.  We’re counting on that history to carry us forward into the future.  We’ve got this…