Film to screen in Park City addresses need for affordable child care
When the Park City Community Foundation asked Park City residents about the biggest social equity issues in the town, access to affordable and safe child care rose toward the top and settled into third place.
Ollie Wilder, community impact director for the foundation, said many families are aware of the challenge in finding affordable early childhood education, but not many people are talking about a solution. The foundation wants to spark conversation about the importance of early childhood education. It is set to host a screening of the documentary “No Small Matter” on Wednesday, May 1, at the Park City Library, followed by a panel discussion with representatives involved in early childhood education efforts.
The panel will include Jill Gildea, superintendent of Park City School District; Lizeette Zurita, Parents as Teachers Program Coordinator for Holy Cross Ministries; and Anna Thomas, policy analyst for Voices for Utah Children. Katie Wright, executive director of the foundation and a parent with kids in Park City preschool programs, will moderate the event.
The event is set to start at 6:30 p.m. with a resource fair featuring early education programs in Park City. The film will screen at 7 p.m., and a panel discussion will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
Wilder said the foundation has been involved with early childhood education for the last few years. The Women’s Giving Fund, a branch of the foundation, awarded its first grant to the nonprofit PC Tots, which provides affordable child care to the area. PC Tots emerged out of a need to provide affordable child care to Park City families, and Wilder said the need only continues to grow.
With the city and school district discussing social equity issues, now seemed like a good time for the community to start addressing solutions to affordable childcare, Wilder said.
“We, as a community, are ready to do more to make sure that every child has their best opportunity at learning in those early years,” he said. “This feels like an issue whose time has come.”
The documentary discusses the importance of early childhood care and the difficulties families have in attempting to access it. Wilder hopes that people who attend learn about the problems that communities such as Park City face. Ultimately, he hopes it rallies the community around this issue and motivates residents to work together to find solutions.
“We need to figure out how do we make early childhood, high-quality early childhood education available to all kids, regardless of background, regardless of income,” he said.
Zurita said high-quality education is critical for building an equitable society. She runs a program in Park City in which educators visit families and work with parents so they can educate their kids in the home. She hopes families who attend learn about programs available to them and are able to relate to the stories told in the documentary.
The event is sponsored by the Park City Community Foundation, with support from Park City Film, Park City Mountain Resort and the EpicPromise Foundation.
Melissa Ray knows what it’s like to not do extraordinarily well in public elementary school. She had a hard time performing well as a student under the typical structure, lessons and other foundational aspects of public education.
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