More kids in day care during teacher walkout

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - During the teacher walkout, day cares have seen a slight bump in attendance. With the kids out of school, different options on where they can go while parents are at work have been popping up. Most child care centers have been treating the teacher walkout like a snow day or more recently, spring break, when it comes to staffing and activities. But it's all to provide for the kids while the teachers travel up to the capitol.

Kids at Playcare Inc. would be in school on Tuesday, but as of 11 o'clock Tuesday morning, they are about to head off to lunch at their childcare center instead of the school cafeteria.

"We have about 26 here today that are school-agers," Playcare Inc. Executive Director Pam Kerr said. "We do see them every day. We see them before school and after school. They are just here for the whole day today."

Kerr said they started the week prepared, knowing the walkout was coming.

"We've stayed pretty much in the loop because we are affiliated with Learning Tree so our principal has kept us in the loop of what was going to be happening," Kerr said.

Then across Lawton at Numunu Turetu Early Child Care Center, it was nap time. Desiree DeVine, the Childcare Site Director, said some of those kids laying down to rest would normally be in school as well.

"The only big change for us was that we had kids here who were in Pre-K that go through LPS who were here all day so that's what got our attendance numbers up a little."

DeVine was also looking ahead at the possible long-term teacher walkout.

"Today we had our cook went and bought groceries and we made sure he bought a little extra to include in case we had to fee extra kids this week," DeVine said.

Both centers get some funding from the state through their kids who are referred through the Department of Human Services and on a form of government assistance.

Kerr at Playtime Inc. says they are with the teachers, and that the next step should be early childhood education funding.

"So we feel their pain, and we are pretty much supporting them," Kerr said. "But I think our legislators are going to have to come up with money for everyone and maybe rethink in how they balance their budget because ever body in the state is hurting."

Both childcare professionals said the best way for parents to seek out a place for their child to go during the walkout is to call up the different centers and ask. If you need financial help, they said to call the Department of Human Services because you could qualify for assistance.