Child Care Provider Day February 26, 2021 WHEREAS, children are Alaska’s most valuable asset and the future of our Great State. High quality care, stimulating learning environments, and positive early experiences help prepare them for a bright and successful future; and WHEREAS, parents are the most important caregivers in children’s development, guiding and nurturing them through the stages of childhood to become confident, healthy adults, and productive members of society; and WHEREAS, in addition to the care provided by their parents, many Alaskan children under the age of 12 are in licensed or approved child care facilities in Alaska, and many more receive child care from certified military facilities, tribally licensed facilities, Head Start programs, and legally exempt providers; and WHEREAS, quality child care providers create safe, healthy learning environments, implement teaching strategies that facilitate learning, are knowledgeable about the developmental stages of growing children, and support children as they learn and grow; and WHEREAS, child care is critical to our state’s infrastructure and a vital resource that supports working families and strengthens our workforce. Providers play a crucial role in assisting some families in the raising our their children by meeting their cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and literary needs, especially during the formative years from birth to six, which is the most crucial stage in brain development; and WHEREAS, the COVID-19 Pandemic has created an ever-expanding demand for child care options as many Alaskans have continued to work throughout the pandemic while schools and after school programs have experienced closures. Throughout the challenges that the pandemic produced in 2020, many child care providers continued to support Alaskan families by remaining open and implementing new procedures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while still providing this vital service; and WHEREAS, Alaska’s future depends on the quality of the early childhood experiences provided to young children today, and the continuation of high quality early child care services represent a worthy commitment to our children’s future. NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim February 26, 2021 as: Child Care Provider Day in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to acknowledge and appreciate the immense contributions of child care providers across our state.