Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/congregations-that-care-child-care-in-religious-institutions/5012422/"She is four years old and attends the Wee Wuns Weekday Ministries. Each day as I enter the church, I notice the parents dropping off their children. Megan puts on her backpack and scurries off hand in hand with her teacher. The smile on her face tells me that she not only enjoys preschool but coming to Cyprus United Methodist Church as well."
This observation, shared by Dr. W. Earl Bledsoe, the senior pastor at Cypress United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, is repeated every morning in thousands of religious facilities throughout the world. What these stories highlight are successful partnerships among congregations, parents, early childhood professionals, and children.
For decades, religious organizations have played a significant role in the provision of early childhood services in the United States:
- Nearly 1.5 million children attend weekday early childhood programs housed in religious facilities.
- Nearly one out of every six child care centers is housed in a religious facility.
- The nation's largest providers of child care services are not KinderCare and La Petite, but the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention (see "The Exchange Top 12").
This article will provide an update on the status of this vibrant seg-ment of the early childhood world. In its preparation, ...