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Preschools and daycares face staffing shortages, long-term pandemic complications

Courtesy of ABC Child Development Centers and Bright School Age Centers
Preschoolers play at an ABC Child Development Center in Windsor.

Many preschools and daycares in Colorado were forced to shut down for weeks or months during the pandemic’s earlier days. While most are back to in-person learning, many still face major staffing shortages. People are leaving the field due to issues ranging from low wages to stress, which were exacerbated by the pandemic. Now, it’s harder and more expensive for working parents to find spots for their young children.

To learn more, we spoke with three people in early childhood education who have been navigating the pandemic since last year, and working toward solutions for the industry. Scott Bright is the owner of ABC Child Development Centers and Bright School Age Centers in Greeley. Jennifer Stedron is the executive director of Early Milestones Colorado. And Luke Afman is a former Denver preschool teacher who left early childhood education to be a correctional officer.

As a producer for Colorado Edition, I pitch segment ideas, pre-interview guests, craft scripts and cut audio. I also write tweets, build web posts and occasionally host.
I host and produce KUNC’s in-depth, regional newsmagazine Colorado Edition, which has me searching across our state for peculiar and impactful stories to bring to listeners, always with a focus on empowering the people who hear our show and speaking through them to our guests. I am also a big nerd about field recording and audio editing, my dedication to which I hope serves our listeners who care about audio as much as I do.
I am the Rural and Small Communities Reporter at KUNC. That means my focus is building relationships and telling stories from under-covered pockets of Colorado.