As the dust continues to settle from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, education centers continue to adapt. There have been advances and setbacks in early childhood education environments, and childcare providers have survived serious stress. Although health and safety risks are less of a concern today than two years ago, other strains persist.
It’s important to stay aware of industry demands, trends, and developments in order to provide the best care possible to families in the real world. Looking ahead, 2023 is expected to bring relief as well as some challenges.
If you work in early childhood education, keep reading. Here are some important 2023 childcare industry trends you should know about.
1. Local Childcare Funding Instead of Federal
Even years before the pandemic— from 2011 to 2019— childcare industry employment gradually dropped by 11%. Strained further by the COVID-19 lockdowns and a lack of funding for businesses, those in the childcare industry have had to be adaptive and relief-focused.
Funding recently granted by the American Rescue Plan of 2021 is set to expire in 2023. Further aid from the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) will end in 2024. To prevent childcare closures and a lack of affordable care, many childcare centers need alternative funding options.
Because of this, state funding initiatives will likely emerge in order to replace aid to childcare providers and families. In Colorado, a state child tax credit was set in place that allowed families to claim in 2022. Massachusetts, Maryland, and other states have also passed tax credits and deduction options to obtain childcare relief.
2. Impacts of Legislation on Childcare
New laws could affect the childcare industry, as it greatly impacts the parents the industry serves. While federal child tax credits and other programs are a topic within themselves, other political factors will impact childcare in 2023.
- Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: This federal law relieved the cost of pharmaceuticals, health insurance, tax filing, and climate expenses for many. But unfortunately, it excluded an extension on the child tax credit many parents were relying on to pay for childcare and even reverse childhood poverty.
- The push for new childcare benefits: Stay updated on upcoming legislation and bill proposals, as many are still fighting for continued childcare support for parents of preschool-aged children.
Because social and economic changes have such a large impact on families in the U.S., legislative news is something to keep in mind when running a childcare center.
3. Educational Changes: STEM and SEL
For some time now, the traditional education model has been getting an overhaul. From the Montessori learning model to mission-driven daycare programs, many parents now value pedagogical frameworks that stand out from the norm.
Over the past several years, STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have been taking the spotlight in education. One reason for this is that employers are realizing many new hires entering the workforce lack critical STEM skills. Introducing technical skills early on— even as early as preschool— helps kids develop into tech-literate individuals.
But STEM alone won’t encourage the well-rounded development that kids need. On the other side of this educational coin is a focus on social and creative learning. Creative problem-solving, social-emotional learning (SEL), and hands-on makerspaces are emerging concepts that may continue to grow in 2023 and beyond.
4. Hiring Amidst Staffing Shortages
For childcare centers in the United States, a big focus for 2023 will be recruiting and hiring competent employees. The staffing shortage is still affecting even the most well-paying education businesses. Unfortunately, professionals who work in early childhood education centers often receive little more than minimum wage.
To improve the hire and retention rates of qualified teachers and staff, childcare centers will likely have to offer more pay to potential employees. They may also need to think of ways to incentivize job benefits to attract qualified candidates. Nationally, the projected pay raise for childcare workers 2022-2023 rests at about 10% on average, although state pay raises will vary.
5. Larger Demand for Childcare Technology
Childcare and daycare centers continue to evolve as technology advances. With so much education-specific tech available today, many childcare providers are turning to management software to help run their businesses.
A childcare software fulfills some crucial roles for providers:
- Optimizes everyday business operation
- Gives parents and guardians easy access to their child’s progress
- Promotes automatic billing and on-time payments
- Easily tracks attendance
- Offers contactless sign-in options
- Tracks learning and assessment data for individual students and the classroom
- Allows secure digital parent-teacher communication
For small, at-home daycares and large facilities that offer hybrid classes, everyone involved in childcare benefits from this type of management technology.
6. Optimism for Early Childhood Education
Despite financial and legislative unknowns, childcare leaders admit to being hopeful about the educational climate in the future. More classrooms are resumed in person. Cultural and social movements have sparked a significant focus on child development, and policymakers are making careful decisions that put children and families first.
At a societal level, more people— whether it be parents, politicians, future teachers, or charity groups— have been prompted to take a closer look at education. Here are some factors that will likely receive active attention this coming year:
- Social-emotional learning
- Healthy cognitive development
- Neurodivergent learning support in education
- Collaborative opportunities for educators across specialties
- Mental health
- Innovative methods of teaching, both in and out of the classroom
- Accessible and equitable curriculum programs
- Family empowerment and problem-solving strategies
No matter what happens in 2023, remember that change is inevitable. Families are always looking for more effective and affordable childcare. Childcare professionals view industry improvement over the next few years as crucial— and possible.
Growth Strategies Through the 2023 Childcare Industry Trends
Whether your childcare center is thriving or struggling to survive, there are ways to proactively adapt to these 2023 childcare industry trends.
If your childcare center needs help with funding, look into state grants and initiatives to replace federal relief. If you need to hire new employees, consider revisiting your overall business strategy to adjust a pay increase. Pay attention to the rise in advocacy for child development, sociocultural support, and widespread education. Get involved in your local community. Follow the trajectory of positive change.
For an affordable childcare management system that helps providers stay compliant and get organized at any time, the Daily Connect app is full of solutions. From parent billing to staff communication to projected learning outcomes and child assessments, it helps childcare providers stay consistent in our ever-changing world.
To get started with the right childcare management software for your business in 2023, contact Daily Connect today.