Families seeking quality, affordable childcare in Montana find new hope
Montana Parent, a monthly magazine owned and operated by three Montana moms, with eight children among the three of them, published an article about MyVillage in-home childcare. The magazine is devoted to providing knowledge about parenting, kids, teens, gardening, exercise, and much more. We are thankful for the exposure, and we feel very aligned with Montana Parent Magazine’s mission and helpful content because we see eye-to-eye with them on their point-of-view concerning Montana mothers, families, children, and early childhood education.
The MyVillage Business Concept
When we (Erica Mackey and Elizabeth Szymanski), were classmates at Oxford and then found ourselves living in Montana, we both had children and, of course, began looking for childcare. Doing so was not as easy as we expected it to be. As Erica put it:
“No matter what your income level, you couldn’t have it all: availability, affordability and quality, unless you were on a waitlist while thinking about conceiving!”
Fortunately for Montana, we both had a passion for early childhood education and entrepreneurial spirits, so before long MyVillage took form, and our in-home childcare idea began to flourish. We think the one principle we added, that has made these childcare/learning venues work, is the mentor program that comes with it. Hence the name MyVillage, because we felt this idea would become a communal experience proving that we are all better when we are together than when we are apart.
The Montana Market
Montana happens to be the fourth-largest state in area and ranks 43rd in total population with just a pinch over one million residents. Only Alaska and Wyoming have fewer people per square mile.
In 2016, NPR broadcasted that a poll it had created along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that almost one-third of parents in Montana was struggling to pay for childcare. The poll showed that, at the time, Montana’s average child care costs exceeded the median rent spent by families.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ benchmark, however, for affordable childcare is 10 percent of the family income.
Montana infants in Medicaid who had evidence of perinatal drug exposure came in at over twice the number from 2010 to 2016. More Montana children were at risk for developmental delays and health problems.
The number of young children who have the opportunity to attend high-quality early learning programs is higher than in years past, but only 50 percent of 4-year-old children and 10 percent of low-income children under three years of age, have access to these programs.
Sixty percent of Montana children under age six have both parents in the workforce.
Our Continuing Mission
Just like Montana Parent Magazine, we are in the business of supporting Montana parents and their children. Using family homes, we strive to find more ways to remain on the frontier of innovation in early childhood education. We believe that quality and affordable childcare through home-based programs is the way to do just that. We want to help parents by offering business support to increase their income potential; mentor on how to obtain licenses; setting up homes for best learning results, and building communities by connecting providers with those who can teach professional development, offer proven curricula, share on discussion boards, and teach others tested practices.
About MyVillage In-Home Childcare
Our winning secret lies in the fact that when providers are happy and motivated, kids will also be the same. When kids are learning and enjoying the learning, their parents will also be pleased and considerably more content. Thankful and less stressed parents make for happier communities. And, ultimately, peaceful and contented societies mean a better world is on its way. We also have several in-home childcare programs based in Colorado, and are looking forward to continued expansion.