University of Wisconsin–Madison
Child Care Tuition Assistance (CCTAP)
Campus Child Care Centers
Parent and Family Events
Campus Early Education Teachers


From the Office of Child Care and Family Resources

Dear Families,Portrait of Cigdem Unal

I hope that everybody is staying healthy and doing well. We have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine for our youngest. Perhaps, we will hear about that soon.  For the time being, the Omicron variant continues to present significant obstacles for our campus and network child care centers, including full or partial classroom closures due to positive COVID-19 test results.

We are still optimistic and excited that cases are on the decline in Dane county. In addition, enrollment numbers for campus centers are back to pre-pandemic levels with growing waitlists. Currently, our biggest challenge is how to retain our skilled and dedicated early education workforce. Over the past two years, campus and network early educators have experienced high levels of work-related stress and compassion fatigue. The increased demands on these teachers have been leading to burnout and causing unusual staff turnover.

Our primary focus has been finding ways to support the emotional health of our early educators. With valuable input from center directors, we are providing funding for wellness initiatives that encourage creativity and cultivate well-being. Our desired outcome is happy and healthy teachers and safe, happy, and high-quality early childhood education programs.

Research suggests that outlets for teacher creativity can play a supportive role in stress management, finding joy, and rebounding from the inevitable setbacks in life. Further, creative growth and self-efficacy also have been linked to teacher well-being. I have been working with our campus child care directors to create relaxing spaces where teachers can unplug and engage in artistic projects during breaks and staff meetings. As one example, the Child Development Lab team would like to create a “re-charging station” for their staff.  The station would include essential oils, google home to access music, eye masks, comfortable furniture, and massage and meditation elements.

As you know, we’ve established a COVID-19 Relief Fund. We are grateful that income from this fund makes it possible for us to support the well-being of our teachers through reflective practice training, self-compassion resources, and healthy foods for some staff meetings. To make a gift to this fund, please visit this link: giveto/OCCFRfund.

As always, we are deeply appreciative of your commitment to our efforts.


"The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out."

Bill Gates
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