Lack of childcare is one of the top challenges in rural communities, on our Survey of Rural Challenges. Lately, I’ve heard several innovative successes you might be able to adapt for your community.
1. Senior Care + Childcare = Intergenerational Care
In Laverne, Oklahoma, (population 1,200) Lana Shaffer shared how locals came together several years ago to create Parkview Pointe Senior Living. They shared how they funded it on Parkview Pointe’s About page.
Recently, they added Parkview Pals childcare to the building. Check out the adorable pics of the seniors and the toddlers building a rock snake together.
2. School District Childcare:
In Shickley, Nebraska, (population 300), the local school district has played a key role in creating a child day care center that ties in with their Pre-K program. Learn more about how they started and funded it in this PBS story.
Childcare is an economic development need.
In that same PBS story, you’ll learn how McCook, Nebraska, population 7,000, expanded childcare by offering economic development business incentives.
3. Pod Model – Shared Buildings:
New Ulm, Minnesota, (population 14,000) used the pod model, where multiple licensed providers can operate out of a shared building. Heather Bregel from New Ulm told me the economic development authority is taking the lead by finding, buying and remodeling the building. They’ll have room for four different childcare providers, and they’re planning to offer less than market rate rents as an incentive. Heather said grants and donations have covered less than 10% of the cost, so this is another example of the economic development leaders stepping up for their community.
The pod model of sharing buildings fits right in with our Innovative Rural Business Models, doing business Together. Heather said they learned of the pod model through First Children’s Finance and their Rural Child Care Innovation Program, serving rural communities throughout the US.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
P.S. Watch my Idea Friendly Keynote for the Rural Maryland Council here. (33 minutes)