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Study shows the challenges, strengths Nebraska child care providers face

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute is doing research on the different struggles early childhood providers are facing in Nebraska.  (NTV News)

Early childhood education is important when considering the growth of a child as they progress in life.

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute is doing research on the different struggles early childhood providers are facing in Nebraska.

Different things are being looked at through the study like low wages, how some teachers get second jobs to supplement their salaries and also what steps should be taken to make sure kids get a quality education.

"If truly brain research says that the first five years are the most important, what can we do to assure that every family in the state has access to quality," said Student Services Director with Kearney Public Schools Carol Renner.

The Buffett study shows that with low wages, lack of benefits and sometimes stress, child care providers are on the fence.

"Some of them are getting second jobs. They don't have the opportunity to train so that they can meet the step up to quality indicators by the state," Renner said.

According to the Buffett study, some center-based teachers only get paid up to $11 an hour. The study says their median annual salary is $18,706, which is below the poverty line for a family of four.

Less than half of those teachers get health insurance, paid maternity leave and retirement benefits.

"It is an economic question. It's a question of the capabilities of the kids for their future and what they can do economically," Renner said.

Early Childhood Teacher Lindsie Thiems said providing a quality learning experience for children is important for when they move to the next level of their education.

"Thousands and thousands of neural pathways are connecting every day for these kids and so the more opportunities and language that they have, the more prepared they will be as they get older," Thiems said.

The Buffett organization is working with state leaders on how to fill these gaps.

"We need to find ways to support that as a state and find ways to work on compensation for those who choose that career," Renner said.

The report said that early childhood teachers usually have 12 years or more experience and major in education-related fields. It also shows that these educators also engage in different training and professional development.

For more information about the Buffett Early Childhood Institute report, click here.

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