Recently I heard Julie Burmesch (retired educator) talk about the importance of quality child care. One dollar invested in quality child care produces $4 in stable and healthy adults.

Within the first 3 years of a child’s life, 80 per cent of the brain development occurs. By the time a child is 5, 85 per cent of his brain is developed. Environmental triggers can activate certain genetic tendencies.

Children need quality child care and enough food and water to fully develop their brain and be ready for school. The first 3 years are very important. It is like growing a tree and nourishing it in the early stages. If the pathways to the brain are not nourished (through food and good experiences) the pathways in the brain are not firmly established.

A big concern for children from all economic levels is screen time. There should be no screen time before the age of 2. Thereafter, screen time should be limi

All children need enriching and safe environments. Children growing up in poverty have an increased likelihood of experiencing multiple ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) ACES are rough treatment in the home, abuse of any kind, lack of love, lack of healthy food, adequate clothing and protection, lack of adult supervision.

Children growing up in abusive homes have trouble with school work, problems with relating to others, mental health difficulty and eventually long-term physical ailments (diabetes, chronic headaches, diagnosis of ADHD).

Yes, we can remediate the brain of an adult, but it is not effective and is very difficult. It is like re-wiring a house. It is better to wire the house properly the first time rather than trying to correct it later on.

The Wisconsin Shares Program subsidizes the cost of child care for low income families. However, there is a gap between the real cost of child care and the amount the state will provide. This leaves low-wage families without access.

Many times, one parent will stay home to care for the children. Participation in the Wisconsin Shares Program has fallen steadily over the last several years because low income families cannot afford to participate.

At an average hourly salary of $12 an hour, even child care providers cannot afford quality child care.

To add to the cost problem, regulated childcare availability in Marathon County has decreased by over 50% in the last 5 years.

For parents who are out of work, the child-care-job-application cycle is a vicious one: can’t apply for work without child, can’t afford child care without work.

Child care subsidies have become increasingly rare and have left many working parents feeling as if the system is set up for them to fail—and to fail their children.

What can we do?

  • Encourage business partnerships with child care agencies to improve affordability and accessibility to child care.
  • Build resilience in children.
  • Advocate for increased public investment in early education and care.
  • Mentor a family or a child. Big Brother and Big Sister Program needs volunteers.

If you want to learn more about early childhood care and education, contact Julie Burmesch at 715-693-0042 or