Photo of preschoolers in a classroom
Preschoolers gathered in a classroom of the Community Day School Association in Seattle. Photo courtesy of the Seattle City Council // Flickr.

The pandemic is a challenging time to have young children under the age of five years — not only for the toddlers but also for mom and dad. (Unless you are doing home schooling, then it doesn’t matter.)

My daughter and son-in-law are both four-year college graduates. They both have had to take some mini-courses in order to be hired during the pandemic, even though their jobs are part-time.

In the meantime, both parents have toddlers under the age of 5 years old. Virtual learning isn’t an option for the kids because of their attention span: The children can look at computer screens for no more than five minutes, if that much.

Teachers during the pandemic are willing to do child development for children under five years of age, but some want to be paid $23 an hour—no matter if the parents are single, married, or working during reduced hours.

This is ridiculous! The city of D.C. and the Board of Education have totally forgotten parents that have children under five years old. Three- or four-year-olds can’t do virtual learning.

In light of reduced working hours, the city should allow young parents with low incomes to be able to obtain a voucher to hire a solo teacher for children under the age of five years. The teacher could be a contractor for the city.

Average rent in D.C. in a decent neighborhood is $1,500 a month for a one-bedroom! Single parents or married couples are struggling to make that rent on time. So to be told that they have to shell out $23 per hour in order for their children to do pre-school is unfair and discriminatory towards young people that are willing to work during this pandemic.

Parents that have school-age children didn’t have to figure this out because their children’s attention span to do virtual learning is better. They can stare at a computer a bit longer, then they take a break then go back online with no problems. The city hasn’t done enough for parents that have preschoolers.