CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A united front coming out of Little Learners Academy in Fort Myers as center-based child care costs has increased during the pandemic according to a study by Lending Tree.
“My staff supporting my families, my families supporting my staff, a lot of compassion and grace with one another because we are all going through something none of us have ever been through before,” said Susie Howard, owner of Little Learners Academy.
However, Florida ranks third on that list of increased child care costs and Susie Howard says her cost of operating has gone up, but not her cost to parents.
“ I too am trying to be compassionate at this time where some families have been laid off, or some hours have been cut. So we’re all just trying to work with each other right now,” said Howard.
Trying to stay afloat Howard says, it's hard paying for essentials.
“You know gloves have doubled, Clorox wipes have doubled, and they make smaller containers now, and now I can't even find Clorox wipes. So I have to buy a different brand through a supply company which is double on what we used to pay. Even paying attention to how wasteful kids we’re with snacks, we get to where we ask them now, do you want a half snack or a full snack?,” said Howard.
Maintaining her facility has also become difficult, but she continues to make sure her little learners receive the best care.
“Insurance is not cheap, workers comp is not cheap either. Rent lights, cable, wifi, you have to have that now for these kids,” said Howard.
Due to the virus Howard now pays $200 a week for a thorough disinfecting of the academy, reminding us why daycare isn’t cheap, and you get what you pay for. Howard says despite the struggle she’s doing this to make her kids happy
“Us being here and being open so that everyone can be normal whatever our new normal is. Their normal routine is what is going to help them thrive and keep going forward,” said Howard.