How some cities are attracting workers amid the child care worker shortage

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. — In a dimly-lit classroom in downtown Milwaukee, nine aspiring early childhood teachers scribbled notes as they watched a video about the capabilities of 4-month-olds.

Babies at that age “can now follow an object 180 degrees,” the narrator explained, as a baby on screen watched a small toy move from side to side. After a few more scenes showing babies cooing, screeching and batting at objects, Yvette Ardis, an instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), hit pause. “What I’m hoping you don’t do in your classrooms is put the kids in those exersaucers or swings,” she said, motioning toward the screen where a baby had just been shown sitting in such a device.

“Unless you need it because you’re feeding, and you need it so that everyone is safe, okay?” she said. “You are there to be engaged with your kids.”

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Natasha M. McKnight

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