It is a special day to recognize child care providers, teachers, and other educators of young children everywhere. Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother's Day.  

Why do we recognize Child Care Providers? The first five years of life are critical to a child’s mental, physical and social-emotional development. According to the 2011 U.S. Census, over 60 percent of children aged 0-5 years old were in some form of childcare each week on a regular basis1 (includes center-based and home-based, nonrelative caregivers). Preschool age children of working mothers spend an average of 36 hours per week in child care1. 

Provider Appreciation Day is only one of the ways to recognize the child care providers who educate and nurture our children during their most critical years of development. Parents can recognize their child care provider by becoming an advocate for early childhood educators. Contact community groups, child care agencies, government leaders and others to support child care providers in your community. Another way to personally recognize your child’s provider is to write a thank you note, bring flowers or a gift card, donate art supplies, or volunteer time to help on a field trip. When parents and child care providers work together our children reap the rewards.