Childcare worker’s open letter strikes a chord
A childcare worker’s open letter to a clueless politician has gone viral, with good reason. In it, she outlined every thing she does – paid and unpaid – in her line of work.
And yes, for your information Mr. Senator, it goes well beyond ‘wiping noses and stopping kids from killing each other.’
This is Chloe Chant, a childcare worker from Sydney, Australia. After hearing Senator David Leyonhjelm’s insensitive comments about her profession, she decided to let him know how wrong he was.
Leyonhjelm was on television this week explaining why he wouldn’t support a childcare reform. He argued that childcare costs are rising because the industry is over-regulated. He claims that the training and credential requirements are unnecessary because childcare workers do little other than ‘wiping noses and stopping kids from killing each other.’
In the most badass and thoughtful way possible, Chant took to Facebook to explain what exactly she does all day as a childcare worker.
“Three weeks ago I stopped everything and spent an entire day of my personal, unpaid time creating documents to be used in court for a family in the middle of a child custody hearing,” Chant wrote. “The next day I went to work and wiped a lot of noses.”
She talked about not only the mountains of paperwork related to the children, but also the steep hills of heartbreak.
“Two weeks ago I identified behaviours that indicated possible child sexual abuse. I talked to the child, I talked to parents, I consulted research and theory, I completed Mandatory Reporting requirements, I cried – a lot.” Chant recounted. “And I managed to stop the children killing each other.”
Chant also brought attention to the very scary moments that can happen in a childcare setting that require quick thinking and emergency action.
“This week I held a baby as he experienced febrile convulsions. I cooled him, reassured him, called an ambulance, called the mother, comforted the hysterical mother, evacuated the other children, kept airways open. I provided first aid that could have prevented brain damage or death. I spent 4 hours filling out legal documentation, paperwork, reflections, and analysis.…And I wiped some noses,” Chant said.
Chant described the gravity of her job with a few more emotional anecdotes, then went full throttle with a comprehensive list of things she does, including: clean up vomit, help children with toilet training, teach pre-literacy skills, introduce the concept of nuclear fission, explain where babies come from, etc. She drives the point home by telling the senator, “That was Wednesday. I did this for just over 20 bucks an hour.”
Many Americans, especially those in childcare, can relate to her remarks. The realities Chant outlined are issues both here and abroad: Childcare costs are astronomical, quality care is scarce, and the people taking care of our most precious humans aren’t paid nearly enough. Our childcare workers and our children deserve better.
She told BuzzFeed, “This issue affects almost everyone in our society. Teachers aren’t getting the respect and pay they deserve; parents can’t afford childcare; employers encounter difficulties resulting from employees not being able to access reliable, affordable daycare.”
She totally nails it. Chant is clearly someone politicians should be listening to, as she has a brilliant way of schooling children and apparently, adults. Her post concluded with two more zingers that have us cheering.
“Your ignorance regarding the lifelong benefits of early learning (sorry, a ‘middle-class perk’), arrogance, self-righteousness and hypocrisy as a self-proclaimed champion of enlightened government investment would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damaging to our future prospects as an intelligent nation, and the aspirations of the working class,” she wrote.
Then, the mic drop.
“Should you need any advice regarding the REAL responsibilities of a childcare worker – or should you need your nappy changed – I am only too happy to render assistance. Despite your comments, my role is to educate, and nothing would please me more than to educate one of my esteemed parliamentary representatives.”
Boom. Kudos to Chant for putting on notice anyone who thinks her job is merely ‘wiping noses.’