Early childhood educators in Lincoln seek recognition and support

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – In Nebraska, there are fewer than 1,600 early childhood educators, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Katlyn Hoggatt, a teacher at Educare of Lincoln, says the lack of benefits causes frustration for early childhood educators.

“It’s a lower-paying field and it’s a lot of work,” she said.

Early childhood educators may not receive benefits like health insurance, paid time off or retirement plans.

Hoggatt said it’s like saying to teachers, “We know you went to school for four years to do this, but we can’t offer you basic benefits.”

Teacher appreciation is always welcomed, but Hoggatt says many don’t recognize the hardships early childhood teachers experience.

“It’s making sure every child feels like they’re valued, and they have those connections with teachers, but also with friends,” she said.

Hoggatt says when she began volunteering at a local domestic violence shelter, she realized there was a need for childhood educators in Lincoln.

Eventually, she would like to see more recognition and genuine support from the general public.

“The worst thing you can hear is, ‘It must be nice to play with kids all day,'” Hoggatt said. “There’s so much more intentionality that goes into teaching.”

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