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Making Child Care Work Beyond 9 to 5

A few months ago I headed to Bright Beginnings at the end of my workday to volunteer with their evening program. When I arrived at 6 p.m., two teachers were serving dinner to a table of about 10 toddlers and prekindergarteners. I sat down and received a warm welcome. No stranger to new people, a chorus of sweet voices began interrogating me—“Can you sit next to me instead?” and “Do you want some of my salad?” After dinner, the teachers helped the children throw away their plates, wash their hands, and head across the room for story time. Then we played with Legos and Picasso Tiles. The children built houses and castles, and their teachers guided them in sharing and taking turns with their peers.

Around 7 p.m., some of the children started…

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