Churches have been doing what they can to provide child care services for many years. In fact, the very first church home daycare was started in 1903 in Omaha. Over the years since then, the number of children served by churches has steadily gone up. They are now serving children in more than 200 countries around the world. The demographics are different as well.
More single-parent homes are being created and families are having children more casually. It’s not so much a lack of desire or financial means, but that having children at home, especially with young teenagers, tends to be a way of life for some people. It’s not unusual these days to find a family that has more than one child. A home daycare center can step in and fill that need and give children a chance at real, quality child care.
Church-based child care centers do this because they have an established reputation for giving quality services to families. They hire licensed social workers and teachers and utilize programs and strategies to help parents retain quality, responsible, and compassionate care for their children. These programs include after-school, summer, and after-school programs. The emphasis is on building stronger bonds between the children and the parents and developing and nurturing those relationships.
In some ways, a home daycare center is a drop-in center for child care. The kids basically go in and out of the center at their own pace, often with some guidance from adults (e.g. a licensed social worker). These activities keep them busy and occupied and help them grow as individuals while they’re getting some vital care and nurturing. After-school programs are a particularly important part of the child care experience as the focus is on learning essential life skills and becoming responsible for their own personal care.
Some of the programs of church-based care centers are very similar to those of other secular programs. They may have art and music activities; reading programs; skill-based classes; health and safety activities; computer and technology-based programs; and religious-based programs. But the overall focus is on spiritual development. These programs can help the child maintain a positive perspective on his/her life, along with developing skills such as self-confidence, self-esteem, trust, and a sense of purpose.
If you’re considering a program at a church-based facility for your child, you should be aware that some programs cost more than others. The cost is usually determined by the number of children being served. Some church-based programs offer scholarships or fellowship opportunities to qualifying families. But generally, the cost of child care is shared between the facility and the family. However, some congregations provide financial assistance to families in need.