Three months in, PC Tots flourishes in Park City
For months before PC Tots opened and children filled its classrooms, Libby Bailey was putting her faith in its mission.
Bailey, executive director of the non-profit, affordable childcare center, had a vision. She saw PC Tots as a place for children of all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds — a place where differences aren’t merely accepted but celebrated. She saw it as a showcase for the kind of diversity that in many ways defines Park City but is not always recognized.
Those ideals are already being realized.
“We have a wide range of socioeconomic status, we have a linguistic diversity — currently nine languages spoken at PC Tots,” she said. “So when you’re kind of up and running and forming your mission of cultural and socioeconomic diversity — and that was our aspiration — then within three months of opening it actually happens, it’s spectacular.”
That is just one aspect of the center’s success. Just more than three months after it opened, PC Tots is living up to what Bailey and working parents of young children had in mind for the center.
The proof is in the enrollment. Bailey said the center opened with about one-third of its 66 spaces filled. Now, it’s completely full and the wait list is stretching well into next year.
Already, the center has become its own community, with parents pitching in to help where they can, Bailey said. A mother who is a personal chef brought lunch for all the children last week. A parent who is a doctor has offered advice on how to handle childhood illnesses. Parents have even swept the floors.
“There isn’t really an expectation for them to do that,” she said. “It’s just that parents understand what we’re trying to do here. They want to support our mission. I’m just blown away. It’s actually been overwhelming.”
In return, the parents are receiving the type of flexibility and responsiveness they need in a child care center. For instance, PC Tots is open for extended hours and during holidays, times when working parents may not be able to take off work to care for their children.
“We don’t have a nine-to-five community of working families,” Bailey said. “So, the feedback I’m getting is, ‘Wow, you’re being responsive to our needs.’ We’re not on a schedule that somebody else has determined. We’re asking families for feedback. I think families are really encouraged by that.”
The educational mission of PC Tots is also flourishing. Bailey said things such as increases in student language development have been clear.
Additionally, the center has received a Baby Steps grant from the Utah Department of Workforce Services that will provide funding for additional training for teachers, Bailey said. Coaches will come in and work with the teachers monthly, and teachers will also take 40-hour courses through Utah Valley University.
“That will enhance our practice so much and support them with their careers,” she said. “We really want to make sure that they understand that they are teachers. The more we invest in them with their education, it certainly affects our center and affects our children, but what it does for them is create more opportunities for them.”
PC Tots is also receiving funding from City Hall. The Park City Council recently awarded a special services contract to the center, which will provide funding for several needs. That is indicative of how much the community has rallied around PC Tots, said Bailey, who called the city’s support “remarkable.”
Bailey added that most people in the area know what PC Tots is, which is a big step for a young non-profit. She is hopeful people, whether they have young children are not, will continue to support the center because of its importance for parents.
“I’m always up to show our community members what we do here,” she said. “I really invite anyone to give us a call or an email and swing by the center to see what we’re doing. I think that will make the most impact, seeing children in here.”
For more information about PC Tots, visit pctots.org.
A Parkite who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 13 is giving scholarships and internships to three first-generation graduates from PCHS.